Browsing Masters Degrees (Philosophy) by browse.metadata.advisor "Camerer, Marianne"
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- ItemThe meaning of work : an ethical perspective(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-03) Scott, Liesel; Camerer, Marianne; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy. Centre for Applied Ethics.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The central idea developed in this thesis is that meaningful work provides the normative standard of what work should be for all human beings, based on the normative idea that being human entails a realization of one’s potential and the expression of one’s intellect and creativity as a necessary part of living a full and flourishing life. Thus the key ethical foundation upon which my argument was built rests primarily upon classic Aristotelian ethical theory as well as more contemporary adaptations thereof. In reality, however, research reveals that up to eighty percent of people engage in work that is not meaningful in the sense that they are unable to experience both excellence and enjoyment through their work. This problem has been labeled as “employee disengagement” and has been acknowledged by organizations as a disturbingly growing trend particularly because of the financial cost it carries through lost productivity. My objective in this thesis was to outline the scope of the problem, and to make a strong case for the recognition of employee disengagement as a moral problem, and not simply as an economic one. Thus a major focus of this thesis was to unpack the concept of meaningful work and to argue for its moral value. Throughout my thesis, the importance of understanding meaningful work as a balance between both the subjective and objective elements that make work meaningful for the individual was emphasized. Having established employee disengagement as a moral problem, my attention then turned towards analyzing the potential causes of the problem at a systemic, organizational and individual level. My primary conclusion was that the modern paradigm facilitated a certain way of organizing business activity as well as a certain way of construing the relationship between work and life that has ultimately had a deep seated causal effect upon the absence of meaningful work. Thus addressing the problem entails a detachment from this paradigm and challenging some of the basic assumptions about organizational life. Finally, I proposed a business model that serves as a framework for a new way of working which has the capacity to be more fulfilling to the human spirit. This model assumes the tenets of virtue ethics as its core. In this model, individual employees, the organization as a community and leaders in the business all have specific roles and responsibilities to bring the model to life, and thus the quest for meaningful work has to be undertaken as a collaborative effort. The field of business ethics, with a refreshed Aristotelian mindset, has a lot of value to add in offering much needed ethical guidance to help steer this radical, yet exciting workplace transformation process in the right direction.
- ItemPoverty and the role of business(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2008-03) Griffiths, Mary Alida; Camerer, Marianne; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.As poverty continues to impact billions of people across the world – to the extent that millions die daily simply because they are too poor to live – there is a pressing ethical question to ask: Who, if anyone, should be taking moral responsibility to end extreme poverty? The key moral problem that my thesis addresses is that those individuals who should primarily be taking moral responsibility to eradicate extreme poverty because they have the power and thus responsibility to make a real difference are not. My contention is that capitalism as it is currently practiced perpetuates extreme poverty and that the very individuals who have the greatest power to eradicate poverty do not view this as a real ethical challenge nor as their primary responsibility to address. I argue that these individuals are global corporate business leaders and that extreme poverty will only be eradicated when these leaders take moral responsibility to apply capitalism in a far more sustainable way - a way that has continuity for future generations and that is fundamentally just towards all human beings. The practice of sustainable capitalism as a solution to extreme poverty is dependent on a ‘critical mass’ of business leaders acting in a way that displays virtuous moral character and sets the example for others to follow. I will assume as a starting point that global poverty does exist and that people dying of poverty when others have far in excess of their needs cannot be ethically justified, irrespective of which moral theory it is viewed from. My thesis will commence by assessing the virtue of virtue ethics theory in comparison to other moral theories and I will illustrate that virtue ethics theory is most appropriate in addressing the moral problem of extreme poverty because it places moral responsibility firmly on the individual human being rather than on any metaphysical principle or context that exists ‘above’ the individual. In my analysis of the relationship between virtue and justice, I will specifically argue that capitalism as it is currently being practiced is unjust and unsustainable. I will further argue that it does not represent Aristotle’s ideal of ‘the good life’ for all and that the outdated modernist principles on which capitalism is currently premised, need to be challenged. Since global corporate business leaders are both the architects of capitalism as we currently experience it and the greatest beneficiaries of it, they have the corresponding greatest moral responsibility to act to eradicate extreme poverty. Business leaders need to take primary moral responsibility to eradicate extreme poverty through practicing a more just and sustainable form of capitalism that is inclusive of all, balancing society and profit needs. In closing I will propose that the African humanist concept of ‘ubuntu’ provides a unique opportunity in South Africa to inform an ethical consciousness that could underpin a future sustainable capitalist approach and perhaps serve as an example to influence global corporate business leaders.