Ties That Define: A Communitarian Theory of Ethics in Organizations
Macklin, RB and Mathison, K, Ties That Define: A Communitarian Theory of Ethics in Organizations, 2014 Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1-5 August, Philadelphia, pp. 1-34. (2014) [Conference Extract]
The existence of a plurality of communities, a diversity of norms, and the ultimate contingency of all decisions in modern societies complicates the task of academics and practitioners who wish to be decent or who wish to advise others. In this paper we invite consideration of a more communitarian and more pluralist approach to ethics which potentially provides a more powerful way to help decent people working in organizations deal with the inevitable moral dilemmas they face. In a contemporary effort to engage with notions of praxis, the approach views business ethicists as highly reflexive members of the business communities they seek to help; we suggest that by consciously grounding their work in empathy, compassion and justice, business ethicists can help managers operating in diverse, complex and dynamic environments navigate the experience of praxis, from reflexivity to critique and ultimately to ethical action. Further, we contend that it is through understanding and appreciating the role of a ‘dialogic stance’ in the process of praxis that business ethicists and managers can most successfully employ language in the form of spoken and written words and thus collaborate genuinely in the pursuit of ‘decent’ organisational decision-making and practice.