Research project Homo Florens

Homo Florens in Higher Economics Education: A broader perspective on the human being for the economic professionals of the future

Social context: education from a narrow human anthropology

In today’s economic education, humans are primarily seen as rational and individualistic beings who are primarily out to maximize the satisfaction of their own needs. This Homo Economicus can cope very well with competition and feels at ease on free markets where he does not need to have a special bond with anyone. An economy based on this view of man strives for permanent (material) growth, but also has negative consequences for social justice and the environment. The question is whether and how students can be educated from a broader view on anthropology in order to find answers to these social issues later – during their working lives.

Innovating economics education based on a different anthropological view

In everyday practice, it appears that a human being cannot be reduced to a Homo Economicus; such an anthropological view does not do justice to the value that people attach to relationships with their fellow man. In scientific research, the concept of Homo Florens has been elaborated in a conception of a human being who is aware of his or her dependence on others. He/she is focused on lasting relationships and finds satisfaction in the well-being of others. This human being naturally thinks of his/her own well-being as well, but only truly flourishes in relationship with others. This anthropology can offer students in Higher Economic Education a perspective of an economy in which the flourishing of others matters. This supports them during their careers to participate in the transition to a sustainable, inclusive, and humane economy.

The purpose of the project

A broader perspective on the human being in economics is still hardly given attention in Higher Economic Education. Therefore, in this project, the theoretical insights regarding Homo Florens are incorporated into the teaching methods for Higher Economic Education. The aim is to train tomorrow’s leaders to make different, more humane choices in which the interests of others are anchored in their economic actions (and those of the organizations they work for).


In the third phase of this project, which was previously entitle Homo Amans, the Institute of Leadership and Social Ethics works together with Leren voor Morgen. The project is made possible by the Goldschmeding Foundation for People, Work, and Economy.



(Photo by D. Jameson RAGE on Unsplash)