Virtue and virtuousness in organizations: Guidelines for ascribing individual and organizational moral responsibility

Mihaela Constantinescu*, Muel Kaptein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article advances research on moral responsibility in organizations by drawing on both philosophical virtue ethics grounded in the Aristotelian tradition and Positive Organizational Scholarship research concerned with virtuousness. The article discusses the very conditions that make possible the realization of virtues and virtuousness, respectively. These conditions ground notions of moral responsibility and the resulting praise or blame on organizational contexts. Thus, we analyze the way individuals and organizations may be ascribed interconnected degrees of retrospective moral responsibility and blame as depending on the interplay between the individual conditions leading to virtue and the organizational conditions leading to virtuousness. Based on this analysis, we develop a two-level account of moral responsibility in organizations that connects individual and organizational moral responsibility through the concepts of virtue and virtuousness. This is further operationalized into practical guidelines to ascribe degrees of individual and organizational blame, which can be used as a tool by managers, policymakers, or industry regulators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-817
Number of pages17
JournalBusiness Ethics, Environment and Responsibility
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Mihaela Constantinescu declares that her work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-1765, within PNCDI III. Furthermore, preliminary research on the topic was supported by a fellowship at the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB) We would like to thank the BEER Editors and several anonymous reviewers for their instructive suggestions. Furthermore, we thank Valentin Mure?an (?), Emanuel Socaciu and Emilian Mihailov for their useful comments on earlier drafts of the paper. We would also like to thank the audience of the Oxford?Bucharest Work in Progress Workshop (September 11, 2019, Oxford Martin School, organized by the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and CCEA, University of Bucharest) for insightful observations that helped us to improve our work.

Funding Information:
Mihaela Constantinescu declares that her work was supported by a grant of the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research, CNCS‐UEFISCDI, project number PN‐III‐P1‐1.1‐TE‐2019‐1765, within PNCDI III. Furthermore, preliminary research on the topic was supported by a fellowship at the Research Institute of the University of Bucharest (ICUB)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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