Virtuousness and the Common Good as a Conceptual Framework for Harmonizing the Goals of the Individual, Organizations, and the Economy

Journal of Business Ethics 147 (1):143-163 (2018)
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Despite the expansion of the regulatory state, we continue to witness widespread unethical practices across society. This paper addresses these challenges of ethical failure, misalignment, and dissonance by developing a conceptual framework that provides an explicit basis for understanding virtuousness and the common good directed toward the goal of eudaimonia or human flourishing. While much of the literature on virtuousness has focused on the organization, this paper uses a more comprehensive understanding that also incorporates the agent and the economy examined through their relational order. The common good provides direction for guiding behavior of all the various stakeholders and the context for understanding virtuousness, while it is through virtuousness that the common good is effectively realized. Virtuousness and the common good are therefore in effect ‘two sides of the same coin.’ This paper develops a virtuousness–common good conceptual framework which explores the basis for harmonizing the goals of the individual, organization, and the economy.



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