Excellence v. Effectiveness: MacIntyre’s Critique of Business

Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (3):499-532 (1995)
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Alasdair Maclntyre (1984) asserts that the ethical systems of the Enlightenment (formalism and utilitarianism) have failed to provide ameaningful definition of “good.” Lacking such a definition, business managers have no internal standards by which they can morally evaluate their roles or acts. Maclntyre goes on to claim that managers have substituted external measures of “winning” or “effectiveness” for any internal concept of good. He supports areturn to the Aristotelian notion of virtue or “excellence.” Such a system of virtue ethics depends on an interrelationship of the community, one’s roles in that community, and the virtues one needs to perform that role weIl. This article develops Maclntyre’s concept of virtue ethics and shows how this paradigm fits well with existing theories about organizational behavior



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