For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"MacIntyre and Business Ethics"

by Beabout, Gregory R (2020)

Key Passage

...after Moore brought into focus MacIntyre’s claim that practices need institutions, and institutions require people who can organize things in a way that sustain and advance those practices housed in the organization, a series of questions came into focus as to whether it is possible to manage in a virtuous manner. On the one hand, it seems clear that the bureaucratic manager criticized by MacIntyre, the type who focuses solely on external goods, is unable to practice the virtues. On the other hand, given that, as MacIntyre states, the making and sustaining of institutions has “all the characteristics of a practice,” then we have, as Moore put it, “an exciting possibility,” that is, a way to conceive of an alternative conception of the manager. Thus, we can be critical of the manager as Weberian bureaucrat while seeking to understand an alternative conception of the manager. In order to conceive of management as a practice with internal goods, it is necessary to distinguish between two approaches to management: the dispositions and attitudes of the command-and-control bureaucratic manager as distinct from the alternative model in which the manager is conceived of as a “wise steward.” On Beabout’s account, the manager as wise steward is attentive to two sorts of excellence: those internal to the activities of managing well, and those internal to the productive practices housed within the institution one is managing. In this sense, management is a domain-relative practice. In Virtue at Work, Moore develops an extended example of a manager in a medium-sized company of architects that illustrates this notion in detail. (p.227)


Macintyre, Business Ethics. Weber, Management, Weberian Manager


On MacIntyre

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