Ethics, Meaningfulness, and Mutuality: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Ethics, Meaningfulness, and Mutuality

1st Edition

By Ruth Yeoman

Routledge

240 pages

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Hardback: 9780815380405
pub: 2019-12-19
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Description

There is an urgent need to understand how private and public organisations can play a role in promoting human values such as fairness, dignity, respect and care. Globalisation, technological advance and climate change are changing work, organisations and systems in ways which foster inequality, alienation and collective risk. Against this backdrop, organisations are being urged to make their contribution to the common good, take account of the interests of multiple stakeholders, and respond ethically as well as efficiently to complex challenges which transcend traditional organisational and state boundaries.

Ethics, Meaningfulness, and Mutuality poses critical questions related to organisational design by challenging limits to current thinking, such as the neglect by political philosophers of markets, firms and stakeholders, or by organisational theorists of business ethics. In so doing, the book advances our understanding of the theory and practice of ethical organising. Specifically, meaningfulness and mutuality will be used to yield values and principles for a philosophy of ethical organising which includes an account of human values in morally desirable collective action, and examines the relationship of collective action to the contested concept of shared value creation. Within a philosophy of ethical organising, mutuality permits an examination of the unavoidable relational nature of collective action, whereas meaningfulness addresses fundamental human concerns for significance and leading a life we have reason to value.

By addressing our status as relational beings with human needs for meaning, a philosophy of ethical organising brings critical thinking to the creation of morally informed organisational practices which are not only instrumentally beneficial for addressing wicked problems, but are normatively desirable for human flourishing.

Table of Contents

Preface

OVERVIEW

The sustainability imperative

Motivating humanity

A human capability for ethical world-building

Meaningfulness and mutuality

Towards a philosophy of ethical world-building

Organisations and organising

Overview of chapters

CHAPTER ONE: THE REALM OF VALUES

Relational Conception of Values

Eudaimonic reflection and cosmopolitan morality

Organisational values

Values-work

Values in ethical organising

Moral free space

Liberal value pluralism

Moral progress

Moral imagination

Meanings, understanding, and knowledge

Common knowledge

Changing values

CHAPTER TWO: THE MEANINING OF VALUE

Value and the sustainability imperative

The meaning of value

Forms of value

Value worth creating

Worth

Integrative worth and publicness

Ethical worlds

The life value model

Materialist ethics

Framing life value organisations

Elements of the life value model

CHAPTER THREE: MEANINGFULNESS AND MUTUALITY

The value of meaningfulness

Meaningfulness – objective, subjective, hybrid

Sources of meaning and public meaningfulness

Practical reasoning

Ethics of care

Domination and alienation

Mutuality as an organising principle

Roots of mutuality

Mutuality and reciprocity

Constrained and expansive mutuality

Dimensions of mutuality

Ethical orientations – fairness, care, flourishing

Voice in ethical world-building

Structures and institutions

Metis – overcoming muteness and harnessing mutancy

CHAPTER FOUR: COLLECTIVE ACTION – INTEGRITY, PURPOSE, WORK

Normatively-desirable collective action

Collective moral agents

Integrity

Emotions and reasons

Morally worthy organisations

Philosophy of purpose

Organisational purpose

Aspects of purpose and purposing

Work – complex contribution

Agonistic republicanism

Consensus and conflict

Agonism – constructive conflict

Republicanism – responsible difference-making

CHAPTER FIVE: JUDGING, RESPONSIBILITY, AND AN ETHIC OF CARE

Judging as thinking and feeling

Objects

Concern for objects

Bringing objects into view

Responsibility to create collective moral agents

Duties to organise

Responsibilities to ‘see’ others

Ethic of care

Materialist ethic of care

Becoming a self-determining being

Ethic of care and systems of social cooperation

Separations of distance, culture, and power

Supply chains as systems of social cooperation

CHAPTER SIX: A PHILOSOPHY OF ETHICAL ORGANISING: JUSTICE, CAPABILTIIES, MEANINGFULNESS

Capability justice

Social constructivism and justice

Seeing ourselves as world-builders

Constructing basic structures

Contesting ethical worlds

A Capability for ethical world-building

Individual capabilities

Collective capabilities

Organisational capabilities

Life capabilities

Ethical organising at the base-of-the-pyramid

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE SOCIETY OF MEANING-MAKERS: DIGNITY, EMPATHY, POWER

The society of meaning-makers

All affected

Mutuality in the society of meaning-makers

Creating the moral community

Distributed power system

Organisational power

Relational power

Discursive authority

CONCLUSION: TOWARDS AN EMPIRICAL RESEARCH AGENDA

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

Ruth Yeoman is a Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, and an Associate Researcher at King’s College, University of Oxford. Ruth researches the concepts and application of meaningfulness and mutuality to work, organisations, and systems.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Business Ethics

Business ethics is a site of contestation, both in theory and practice. For some it serves as a salve for the worst effects of capitalism, giving businesses the means self-regulate away from entrenched tendencies of malfeasance and exploitation. For others business ethics is a more personal matter, concerning the way that individuals can effectively wade through the moral quagmires that characterise so many dimensions of business life. Business ethics has also been conceived of as a fig leaf designed to allow business-as-usual to continue while covering over the less savoury practices so as to create an appearance of righteousness.

Across these and other approaches, what remains critical is to ensure that the ethics of business is the subject of incisive questioning, critical research, and diverse theoretical development. It is through such scholarly inquiry that the increasingly powerful purview of corporations and business activity can be interrogated, understood and, ultimately, reformulated. This series contributes to that goal by publishing the latest research and thinking across the broad terrain that characterised business ethics.

The series welcomes contributions in areas including: corporate social responsibility; critical approaches to business ethics; ethics and corporate governance; ethics and diversity; feminist ethics; globalization and business ethics; philosophical traditions of business ethics; postcolonialism and the ethics of business; production and supply chain ethics; resistance, political activism and ethics; sustainability, environmentalism and climate change; the ethics of corporate misconduct; the politics of business ethics; and worker’s rights.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS000000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / General
BUS008000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
BUS085000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
BUS104000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate Governance