Taking character seriously
A widespread belief among moral philosophers holds that ethics is concerned fundamentally with questions of right and wrong actions. There is also a popular view among social scientists that the key subject matter of business ethics is ethical decision-making and ethical behavior. This is not a dissertation about rights, wrongs, and obligations. It is not a dissertation about ethical decision-making or behavior either. For the moral life is much more than principles and rules. And the morality
... . And the morality of business involves much more than right and wrong decision and conduct.The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to the development of a theory of virtue in organizations that takes character seriously. It relies on the stipulation that moral traits of character are ethically more basic than moral principles. We are to understand what it is to behave virtuously through studying the nature and tendencies of the virtuous person.The contribution of this dissertation to the status quaestionis in business ethics research is fourfold. First, it offers an original account of why normative theories must be psychologically realistic in the field of business ethics by elaborating on the old philosophical dictum that 'ought implies can.' Second, this dissertation articulates an account of virtue that is distinctively character-based--preserving the primacy of character in normative theorizing--and provides a conceptual analysis of character traits--which is necessary to grant virtue ascriptions and understand the individual differences that underlie trait attributions. Third, this dissertation supplies ten decisive arguments to refute the situationist attack and the empirical evidence on the existence of virtues and character traits. Fourth, this dissertation offers an account of role virtues that can successfully deal with the problem of role morality by integrating the demands of social affiliations, institutions, and universal values, which are not characteristically in conflict.