For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Who is the good entrepreneur? An exploration within the Catholic social tradition"

by Cornwall, Jeffrey R; Naughton, Michael J (2003)


Entrepreneurship is a critical need in society, and an entrepreneur’s life can be a life wonderfully lived. However, most of the literature examining entrepreneurship takes an overly narrow financial viewpoint when examining entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial success. Our paper surveys the current entrepreneurial literature on what constitutes successful entrepreneurship. We then engage key conceptual ideas within the Catholic social tradition to analyze what we see as an undeveloped notion of success. We then move to construct a richer notion of success through the framework of virtue.

Key Passage

Yet, what in entrepreneurship makes the entrepreneur good? John Paul II (1981) explains that without consideration of the subjective dimension of work, “it is impossible to understand the meaning of the virtue of industriousness, and more particularly it is impossible to understand why industriousness should be a virtue” (Laborem exercens, #9). Standing within the virtue tradition of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, he states that industriousness, as well as ingenuity, creativity, frugality, and so forth, can only be virtues if they “make us more human,” and they can only make us more human if we are helping other people become more developed. John Paul argues this point on the basis of the phenomena of our activity, which we have described in terms of the subjective and objective dimensions of work. We perfect ourselves to the extent that we create conditions for other people to develop.  (p.68)


Catholic, Religious Views On Work, Entrepreneurship, Social Tradition, Subjective Dimension Of Work


Catholicism, Religious Views on Work

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