Organizational Ethics and the Good Life

Paperback | January 1, 1996

byEdwin Hartman

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In giving an account of what is ethical, we can begin by describing the community that accommodates the good life; to be ethical, then, is to be a contributor to that sort of community. We live in political communities as well as in communities built around families, neighborhoods, churches,and other associations. But for many of us the community that will afford the good life that is the purpose of morality is the organization that employs us. Aristotle claimed tht the greatest ethical questions are political ones; today we have reason to believe that the greatest ethical questionsare organizational ones. 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 thatit 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 developinterests 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 practicalethical 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 lifeas 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.

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From Our Editors

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 prese...

From the Publisher

In giving an account of what is ethical, we can begin by describing the community that accommodates the good life; to be ethical, then, is to be a contributor to that sort of community. We live in political communities as well as in communities built around families, neighborhoods, churches,and other associations. But for many of us th...

From the Jacket

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 prese...

Edwin Hartman is at Rutgers University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:232 pages, 9.25 × 6.26 × 0.55 inPublished:January 1, 1996Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195100778

ISBN - 13:9780195100778

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Table of Contents

Foreword by R. Edward FreemanIntroduction1. What Morality is About1.1. Reasons for being moral1.2. The interests of others as reasons for action1.3. Morality and one's best interests: a start1.4. Relativism1.5. Interpretation and the limits of morality1.6. The Ik1.7. Prospects2. Utilitarianism and its Difficulties2.1. Versions of happiness2.2. Rights and the good life2.3. Justice and rule utilitarianism2.4. Moral principles and administrative rules2.5. Utility and discrimination2.6. Intimate matters2.7. The attractions of justice2.8. Interpreting alien communities2.9. Prospects3. Morality and Communities: Collective Action3.1. Moral communties and social contracts3.2. The commons problems3.3. The commons and being better off3.4. Character and motivation3.5. Toward the good community3.6. Prospects4. Business, Ethics, and Business Ethics4.1. Against business ethics4.2. The purpose of the organization4.3. Contractarian views and applied ethics4.4. Contexts and consequences4.5. Criticizing communities: relativism again4.6. The principles of morality4.7. Against theoretical ethics4.8. Tactic ideology4.9. Principles for a good organization: A Rawlsian proposal4.10. Some modest remarks on justice and rights4.11. Prospects5. Morality and Autonomy5.1. Persons5.2. Pleasure and action: the utilitarian self5.3. Autonomy5.4. Choosing one's desires5.5. Emotion5.6. Prospects6. Problems of Corporate Culture6.1. The rational as social6.2. Two experiments6.3. The nature of culture6.4. Culture as a way of managing6.5. Culture and a theory of motivation6.6. Japanese culture6.7. The perils of culture6.8. Culture and the commons6.9. Culture, roles, self6.10. Prospects7. The Good Community and the Good Organization7.1. Exit, loyalty, and voice7.2. Exit7.3. Loyalty7.4. Voice7.5. Dealing with many voices7.6. The good life and the good communityBibliographyIndex

From Our Editors

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 princip

Editorial Reviews

"This work is especially helpful in helping students understand the broader implications of theories of justice....The expansive and clear footnotes at the end of each chapter are a genuine plus to the volume."--Hal Warlick, High Point University