The limits of virtue theory in business ethics

Mpekansambo, Lawrence M. (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The overall aim of this study is to establish the implications, effectiveness and limitations of making Aristotelian virtue theory a meta-theory of business. The study intends to test what the business world would be like with the virtue framework as its meta-theory, i.e. if virtue theory provided the fundamental principles that underlie the formation and operation of business enterprises, thus making virtue the philosophy of business. Since virtue is concerned with moral character rather than moral principles – it is community-based rather than individualistic – the application of the virtue framework to business implies that we will have to deal with the reality that individualistic capitalism is corrosive to virtue. The virtue framework is only compatible with collective forms of capitalism, not individualistic forms. Thus, in order to nurture virtues, it is necessary to build an economic system, a type of capitalism that is compatible with the virtue framework. Such a project is morally plausible because it is congruent with human nature, which is rational and social.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die algehele doel van hierdie studie is om die implikasies, effektiwiteit en beperkings van die toepassing van die Aristoteliaanse teorie van deug as metateorie vir besigheid vas te stel. Die studie beoog om te toets hoe die besigheidswêreld sou lyk met deugdeteorie as metateorie, dit wil sê as deugdeteorie die fundamentele beginsels wat die formasie en bedryf van besigheidsondernemings onderlê voorsien en dus deug die filosofie van bedryf maak. Deugde is bemoei met morele karakter eerder as morele beginsels omdat dit gemeenskapsgegrond eerder as individualisties is. Die toepassing van ʼn deugde-raamwerk op die sakewêreld impliseer dus dat ons moet afreken met die realiteit dat individualistiese kapitalisme korrosief is vir deugde. Die deugde-raamwerk is slegs verenigbaar met kollektiewe vorme van kapitalisme, eerder as individualistiese vorme. Om die deugde te koester is dit dus nodig om ’n ekonomiese sisteem te bou in die vorm van ’n kapitalistiese stelsel wat verenigbaar is met die raamwerk. Só ʼn projek is moreel aanneemlik omdat dit ooreenstem met die menslike natuur, wat rasioneel en sosiaal is.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80336
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