Virtue Beyond Contract: A MacIntyrean Approach to Employee Rights

Journal of Business Ethics 171 (2):227-240 (2020)
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Rights claims are ubiquitous in modernity. Often expressed when relatively weaker agents assert claims against more powerful actors, especially against states and corporations, the prominence of rights claims in organizational contexts creates a challenge for virtue-based approaches to business ethics, especially perspectives employing MacIntyre’s practices–institutions schema since MacIntyre has long been a vocal critic of the notion of human rights. In this article, I argue that employee rights can be understood at a basic level as rights conferred by the rules constitutive of practices. As such, employee rights correspond to the obligations of practitioners to treat fellow practitioners according to the standards of excellence and requirements of justice. Thus, one way that managers can ensure that their core practice is well-functioning is to recognize employee rights. One implication of this argument is that managers should adopt a more positive stance toward labor unions, insofar as they are a key way for employees to ensure that their voice is heard, and their rights respected.



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Caleb Bernacchio
California State University Monterey Bay

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.

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