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In search of organizational virtue in business : agents, goods, practices, institutions and environments.

Moore, G. and Beadle, R. (2006) 'In search of organizational virtue in business : agents, goods, practices, institutions and environments.', Organization studies., 27 (3). pp. 369-389.


In this paper we argue that MacIntyre’s virtues-goods-practice-institution schema (MacIntyre 1985) provides a conceptual framework within which organizational virtue in general, and virtue in business in particular, can be explored. A heuristic device involving levels of individual agency, mode of institutionalization and environment is used to discuss why some businesses protect practices, develop virtues and encourage the exercise of moral agency in their decision making, while others struggle or fail to do so. In relation to conventional shareholder-owned capitalist business, both the mode of institutionalization and the environment are shown to be largely antithetical to the development of practices. Other businesses may meet the necessary internal conditions for the sustenance of practice-like features but remain dependent upon features within their environments. To illustrate this, we use participant observation to show how one particular organization—Traidcraft plc—meets the relevant conditions.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Organizational-virtue, Business-virtue, MacIntyre, Virtues-goods-practice-institution, Traidcraft.
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Publisher statement:The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Organization studies, 27/3, 2006, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2006 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Organization studies page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Record Created:26 Aug 2008
Last Modified:17 Aug 2011 09:46

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