Ethical Character and Virtue of Organizations: An Empirical Assessment and Strategic Implications

Journal of Business Ethics 57 (3):269-284 (2005)
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Abstract

Virtue ethics has often been regarded as complementary or laissez-faire ethics in solving business problems. This paper seeks conceptual and methodological improvements by developing a virtue character scale that will enable assessment of the link between organizational level virtue and organizational performance, financial or non-financial. Based upon three theoretical assumptions, multiple studies were conducted; the content analysis of 158 Fortune Global 500 firms ethical values and a survey of 2548 customers and employees. Six dimensions of organizational virtue (Integrity, Empathy, Warmth, Courage, Conscientiousness and Zeal) are identified through confirmatory factor analysis, and validated against satisfaction measure. Strategic implications of virtue characters are discussed.

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