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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1986

John Lawrence

Three reasons exist for undertaking a comparative study of social policy: there is no other way of evaluating and increasing understanding of social policies; through its…

Abstract

Three reasons exist for undertaking a comparative study of social policy: there is no other way of evaluating and increasing understanding of social policies; through its study, a wide range of policy options for tackling particular problems become known and understood; policy makers can learn lessons from others' experience with particular policies. Conceptual and methodological issues raised by comparative study are briefly studied. All study is in fact comparative. As a field of study becomes more theoretically explicit and sophisticated it becomes more explicit and self‐conscious about some important comparisons. The development of comparative social policy indicates a growing theoretical awareness of the need for certain types of important comparisons. In time it is expected to disappear as a separately designated aspect of “the study of social policy”. The study of the field of social policy brings the kind of knowledge produced by the so‐called social sciences into sharp relief.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1996

Richard Stivers

Surely the absence of a sociology of morality has to be one of the major weaknesses of academic sociology, and a mysterious one at that. For Durkheim, one of sociology's…

Abstract

Surely the absence of a sociology of morality has to be one of the major weaknesses of academic sociology, and a mysterious one at that. For Durkheim, one of sociology's founding fathers, morality was to have a central place as an object of inquiry; moreover, he was passionately interested in it on the existential level, as was Weber.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 16 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 7 February 2011

Ron Beadle and Geoff Moore

In this chapter, we set out to demonstrate how organizational theory and analysis can benefit from the work of the distinguished philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. In the…

Abstract

In this chapter, we set out to demonstrate how organizational theory and analysis can benefit from the work of the distinguished philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. In the first part of the chapter we show how MacIntyre's conception of how rival traditions may move towards reconciliation has the potential to resolve the relativist conclusions that bedevil organization theory. In the second part, we show how MacIntyre's ‘goods–virtues–practices–institutions’ general theory provides a framework for reconciling the fields of organization theory and organizational ethics. In the third part, we provide a worked example of these two strands to demonstrate the implications of MacIntyre's philosophy for organizational analysis. We conclude with a research agenda for a distinctively MacIntyrean organization theory.

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Jim Wishloff

Alasdair MacIntyre’s path-breaking book After Virtue launched him into a place of prominence in social and moral philosophy. Two central, and still relevant, themes are…

Abstract

Alasdair MacIntyre’s path-breaking book After Virtue launched him into a place of prominence in social and moral philosophy. Two central, and still relevant, themes are identifiable in the corpus of MacIntyre’s work. First, advanced modernity is in a perilous state because of the philosophical creation of the emotivist self. Second, virtue must be reclaimed if the crisis in moral philosophy is to be addressed and an institutional world worthy of what we are as human beings is to be built. MacIntyre’s heroic effort in this regard is a new presentation of a Thomistic Aristotelianism but he was not naïve about the chances of his project’s success. Emotivism has made it extremely difficult for a virtue perspective to even gain a hearing. MacIntyre proposed a way forward different from abstract theorising. He felt that at this point we could, and had to, learn how to act from accounts of exemplary lives. This chapter presents the wisdom of legendary basketball coach John Wooden as a contribution to aid in the recovery of virtue. The central claim being made is that it is long overdue that John Wooden should take his rightful place in the virtue tradition in ethics. This work gives John Wooden’s conception of leadership that flows from his understanding of virtue the attention it deserves. The examination of John Wooden’s life undertaken bridges virtue theory and leadership. Several other key elements of MacIntyre’s thought set the structure of the inquiry. The chapter begins with a biographical sketch of Wooden’s life because of the stress that MacIntyre places on tradition and narrative unity. The basis of Wooden’s reflection on virtue, the tradition informing his practical reasoning, is a selected canon of Western civilisation, its great literature and the Bible. The Midwestern values of hard work, honesty, faith, and caring for one’s family are also significant. MacIntyre places great emphasis on the need to understand the story of a life and, in particular, the need to understand how development was aided or hindered in childhood and what kind of apprenticeship into a practice was available. The singular influence John Wooden’s father had on his life is documented. The role that John Wooden’s teachers, coaches and mentors played in initiating him into the practice of coaching is reviewed. The experiential base for Wooden’s derivation of his emotionally healthy definition of success and his well thought out conception of the virtues is thus put in place. MacIntyre summarises the teleological structure of human life and the role of virtue in human flourishing by contrasting man-as-he-happens-to-be with man-as-he-should-be-if-he-realised-his-essential-nature. John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success identifies the combination of personal qualities and values, virtues, that fulfil MacIntyre’s second term, that are intrinsic to reaching one’s potential as a person. The 15 qualities Wooden gives – industriousness, enthusiasm, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, self-control, alertness, initiative, intentness, condition, skill, team spirit, poise, confidence, competitive greatness – are defined and illustrated. The rationale for the qualities and for their placement into a coherent whole is discussed. Basic elements of John Wooden’s leadership genius are then brought out. Leaders need to get the culture right, build cohesive teams, and be guided by a moral topline.

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War, Peace and Organizational Ethics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-777-8

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Book part
Publication date: 12 September 2014

Hugh Breakey

How can public institutions achieve their goals and best nurture virtue in their members? In this chapter, I seek answers to these questions in a perhaps unlikely place…

Abstract

How can public institutions achieve their goals and best nurture virtue in their members? In this chapter, I seek answers to these questions in a perhaps unlikely place: the television series The Wire. Known for its unflinching realism, the crime drama narrates the intertwined lives of police, criminals, politicians, teachers and journalists in drug-plagued urban Baltimore. Yet even in the thick and quick of institutional dysfunction the drama portrays, human virtue springs forth and institutions (despite themselves) sometimes perform their roles. I begin this exploration of The Wire by drawing on Montesquieu and other political theorists to evaluate the problems facing state institutions – problems of diversity and principle as much as selfishness and power-mongering. I then turn to the prospects for virtue within modern institutions, developing and applying the system of Alasdair MacIntyre and paying particular attention to the role of narrative in cementing and integrating virtue.

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The Contribution of Fiction to Organizational Ethics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-949-2

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2014

Steve Mackey

– The purpose of this paper is to critiques corporate public relations from the perspective of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critiques corporate public relations from the perspective of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.

Design/methodology/approach

It uses an essay format.

Findings

The essay is critical of proposed “communitarian-style” initiatives to take advantage of what are referred to by some public relations theorists as “consumer communities”.

Social implications

The essay details a more appropriate ethical approach to public relations by corporations.

Originality/value

This is the most extensive application of MacIntyre's ideas to public relations.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Book part
Publication date: 27 December 2013

John Barry

This chapter explores the ideas of Alasdair MacIntyre and Vaclav Havel and what these two thinkers can contribute to green political theory.

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter explores the ideas of Alasdair MacIntyre and Vaclav Havel and what these two thinkers can contribute to green political theory.

Design/methodology/approach

This chapter includes examination of some of the key works of Havel and MacIntyre and analysis of these works from the point of view of green political theory.

Findings

The section ‘Havel and the Imperative to “Live in Truth”: Dissent and Green Politics’ explores Havel’s thought with a particular emphasis on his ethicised notion of political action and critique (‘living in truth’) and his focus on the centrality of dissent (both intellectually and in practice) as central to political critique and action. The section ‘MacIntyre as a Green Thinker: Vulnerability in Political and Moral Theory’ offers an overview of MacIntyre interpreted as a putative green thinker, with a particular emphasis on his ideas of dependence and vulnerability. The Conclusion attempts to draw some common themes together from both thinkers in terms of what they have to offer contemporary green political thought.

Research limitations/implications

What is presented here is introductory, ground clearing and therefore necessarily suggestive (as well as under-developed). That is, it is the start of a new area of exploration rather than an analysis based on any exhaustive and comprehensive knowledge of both thinkers.

Practical implications

This chapter offers some initial lines of exploration for scholars interested in the overlap between green thinking and the work of Havel and MacIntyre.

Originality/value

This is the first exploration of the connections between the works of Havel and MacIntyre and green political theory.

Details

Environmental Philosophy: The Art of Life in a World of Limits
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-137-3

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Book part
Publication date: 7 June 2019

Javier Pinto-Garay

The following chapter is aimed to explain what virtue ethics (VE) in business is, its philosophical background, its original themes, and new research opportunities. To…

Abstract

The following chapter is aimed to explain what virtue ethics (VE) in business is, its philosophical background, its original themes, and new research opportunities. To this end, we will establish the distinctive elements of VE and its main sources and epistemological approaches. In particular, we will first describe VE in business based on Alasdair MacIntyre’s ethics and Modern VE in Business. Then, we will briefly show the Thomistic approach to VE in business and its main application to business theory. We will also consider a new epistemological proposal for VE in business in Positive Organizational Scholarship. Next, this chapter will explain briefly the original contributions VE in business makes to a theory of work and a common good theory of the firm. Finally, we will suggest new areas in which VE in business theory has not shown a significant outcome yet. Here, we will discuss new opportunities that VE authors might consider for research projects in new epistemological approaches, VE philosophers not yet studied in business ethics theory, spirituality-based theory (Jewish and Protestant mainly) and its connection with VE, and contemporary problems that firms are facing that can be enlighten from neo-Aristotelian philosophy.

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Business Ethics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-684-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1990

Jere R. Francis

Alasdair MacIntyre′s book After Virtue is used as the basisto reflect on possibilities for virtue in accounting and some problemsin its realisation. MacIntyre advances a…

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Abstract

Alasdair MacIntyre′s book After Virtue is used as the basis to reflect on possibilities for virtue in accounting and some problems in its realisation. MacIntyre advances a neo‐Aristotelean account of virtue that is grounded in practice and which focuses on the unique internal rewards of a practice. Accounting is suggested to be a practice in this sense and five possible internal rewards are identified: honesty, concern for the economic status of others, sensitivity to the value of both co‐operation and conflict, the communicative character of accounting practice, and the dissemination of economic information. Several potential problems in realising virtue are then discussed including the tendency for external rewards to dominate internal rewards, the corrupting power of institutions, and a confusion between laws (rules) and virtues.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2019

Joanne Blake

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the potential fruitfulness of the theory of Alasdair MacIntyre for understanding how social enterprises may facilitate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the potential fruitfulness of the theory of Alasdair MacIntyre for understanding how social enterprises may facilitate well-being, using empirical evidence from doctoral research to illustrate this.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on findings from research conducted at a mental health training and employment organisation which used gardening as rehabilitative tool. Participant observation and semi-structured interviews with staff, volunteers and service users were used to generate the data, a MacIntyrean lens used to analyse the data, and some suggestions are made as to why social enterprises may be particularly suited to such an approach.

Findings

Practitioners encouraged the seeking of “internal goods” or “goods of excellence” within practices, as it was this which was understood to facilitate well-being. Service users shared in this view, perceiving their time on the case site primarily as “work” and choosing to engage with the service out of a desire to meaningfully contribute to the community project.

Research limitations/implications

This research is conducted on a small scale and therefore lacks generalisability. The lack of comparison with other organisational forms using the same practice is also a limitation.

Originality/value

This theory offers an alternative lens for considering how social enterprises might contribute to well-being. The data presented here also complement the growing body of research literature on Work Integration Social Enterprises, considering some of the wider well-being benefits beyond work integration, which thus far has received limited empirical attention.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

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