There are no Codes, Only Interpretations. Practical Wisdom and Hermeneutics in Monastic Organizations

Journal of Business Ethics 145 (4):781-794 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Corporate codes of ethics, which have spread in the last decades, have shown a limited ability to foster ethical behaviors. For instance, they have been criticized for relying too much on formal compliance, rather than taking into account sufficiently agents and their moral development, or promoting self-reflexive behaviors. We aim here at showing that a code of ethics in fact has meaning and enables ethical progress when it is interpreted and appropriated with practical wisdom. We explore a model that represents an uncommon organizational code of ethics: the monastic Rule of St. Benedict, written in the sixth century and still used today. Our empirical study—conducted in several monasteries living under this rule—shows that organization members interpret this rule, both hermeneutically and ethically, to adapt it to situations. They also appropriate this rule as a way of life and treat it as a dynamic framework that helps them to follow their purpose within their organization. This exceptional code actually offers an alternative model for practicing codes of ethics, in a virtue-ethical manner, beyond mere compliance with the text. The way in which reflexive and active agents practice the code, both individually and collectively, shapes their organizational experience and fosters their moral development.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,088

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A Code of Ethics for Corporate Code of Ethics.Mark S. Schwartz - 2002 - Journal of Business Ethics 41 (1-2):27 - 43.
A Kantian approach to codes of ethics.Jacquie L'Etang - 1992 - Journal of Business Ethics 11 (10):737 - 744.
Corporate ethical codes as strategic documents: An analysis of success and failure.Betsy Stevens - 2009 - Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies 14 (2):14-20.
Universal Moral Values for Corporate Codes of Ethics.Mark S. Schwartz - 2005 - Journal of Business Ethics 59 (1-2):27-44.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-10-27

Downloads
27 (#523,372)

6 months
7 (#213,770)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

References found in this work

After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.
Summa Theologica.Thomasn D. Aquinas - 1273 - Hayes Barton Press. Edited by Steven M. Cahn.
Whose Justice? Which Rationality?Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1988 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Oneself as Another.Paul Ricoeur - 1992 - University of Chicago Press.

View all 64 references / Add more references