Organizational Ethics and the Good Life

Organizational Ethics and the Good Life

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Edwin Hartman argues that ethical priciples should not derive from abstract theory, but from the real world of experience in organizations. He explains how ethical principles derive from what workers learn in their communities (firms), and that an ethical firm is one that creates the good life for the workers who contribute to its mission. His aproach is based on the Aristotelian tradition of refined common sense, from recent work on collective action problems in organizations, and from social contract theory.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 226 pages
  • 156.7 x 235 x 16.3mm | 363.28g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195100778
  • 9780195100778

Review quote

Hartman's book is a significant and welcome addition to the business ethics lexicon. . . . If philosophers are to continue to play a role in the business ethics dialogue, this is the kind of book a philosopher should be writing. It will be a rich and rewarding experience for those who read it and a useful text in a business ethics class. * Business Ethics Quarterly *show more

Back cover copy

In Organizational Ethics and the Good Life, Edwin Hartman contends that, as ethics is about the good community, a great part of business ethics is about the good organization. He argues that a large and complex organization has the characteristic of the "commons" studied by game theorists, and that it is the task of management to preserve the commons in the long-term interests of all its members, principally by creating an appropriate corporate culture. A good corporate culture not only serves the interests of the participants but makes the organization a place in which they can develop interests that are compatible with both autonomy and good corporate citizenship: that is, they can develop a sense of the good life that is appropriate to the moral person. Hartman opposes the standard view that the study of organizational ethics is a matter of considering how certain foundational ethical principles apply in organizational settings; instead, he argues, business ethicists should consider how free and rational people arrive at a consensus on practical ethical principles in a morally good organization that leaves room for moral progress. And what makes an organization morally good? In discussing justice, loyalty, and other features of a morally good organization, Hartman draws largely on the work of Rawls and Hirschman. In describing the good life as one in which well-being and morality overlap, Hartman proposes a new version of an idea as old as Aristotle, who taught that human beings are rational but also irreducibly communal creatures.show more

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