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Article
Publication date: 20 February 2017

Andrew West

The purpose of this paper is to examine how Aristotle’s ethics can be applied to the ethics of professional accountants (PAs), in relation to the approach adopted by the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how Aristotle’s ethics can be applied to the ethics of professional accountants (PAs), in relation to the approach adopted by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), and to consider the reasons that justify the Aristotelian approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper outlines IFAC’s approach and identifies several weaknesses. Three themes of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics are applied to the work of PAs. Reasons why this perspective is more suitable for PAs are then articulated.

Findings

Several aspects of Aristotle’s ethics can be fruitfully applied to the ethics of PAs. These include the relationship between function, goals and the good, an awareness of the human goal to achieve eudaimonia, the development of both excellences of character and of intelligence, and the significance of non-rational aspects of morality, including emotions, will, responsibility and choice.

Research limitations/implications

This perspective provides an alternative conceptualisation of the ethics of PAs. Although it does not provide concrete guidance regarding what the ethical approach to specific situations may be, it presents a useful counterpoint to existing approaches that are largely deontological and utilitarian.

Practical implications

This paper provides accountants in practice with a more comprehensive and adequate perspective on what it means for a PA to be ethical, and raises several issues related to how ethics is included in the education and training of accountants.

Originality/value

Investigating the philosophical basis for professional ethics approaches professional codes of ethics in a way that it is not typically considered. The paper also provides a more comprehensive application of Aristotelian ethics than previous work.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 1989

Thomas M. Jeannot

Book VI of Aristotle′s Nicomachean Ethics is commented on,aimed at showing its relevance to some themes in contemporary moralphilosophy. It is argued that the classical…

Abstract

Book VI of Aristotle′s Nicomachean Ethics is commented on, aimed at showing its relevance to some themes in contemporary moral philosophy. It is argued that the classical approach to morality (Aristotle) and the Enlightened approach (Kant) need not compose antinomy. Instead, the Aristotelian emphases on the development of virtuous character and the nature of practical wisdom coalesce with the Kantian emphasis on autonomy – what Falk calls “responsible self‐direction” – in the person of the moral leader. In particular, great moralists have recognised that moral wisdom is not mainly a matter of strict obedience to rules. While rules have their place, the subject matter of ethics cannot be determined by a quasi‐mathematical formalism. Over‐emphasis on the formalism of the categorical imperative obscures Kant′s more fundamental emphasis on autonomy. The autonomous person, able to exercise moral leadership, cultivates the Aristotelian virtue of phronēsis.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 19 April 2018

Martyn Hammersley

This chapter examines the role of phrónēsis in the context of research ethics, noting how it is often contrasted with the proceduralist approach associated with ethical…

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of phrónēsis in the context of research ethics, noting how it is often contrasted with the proceduralist approach associated with ethical regulation. The meaning of the term in the writings of Aristotle is outlined. This is followed by an examination of some of the ways in which the concept has been applied more recently, for example in relation to professionalism and professional ethics. Here, it is often combined with similar ideas, such as Polanyi’s notion of tacit knowing. These more recent applications of the concept involve some deviation from the original sense of the term, but it is argued that there are good reasons for this, arising from changes in prevailing values and social conditions since the time of Aristotle. Furthermore, there are complexities with which he did not deal, notably the Machiavellian idea that in some circumstances unethical actions may be necessary to achieve desirable goals. The chapter ends by considering whether phrónēsis always leads to good ethical judgements. This seems to be true by definition on Aristotle’s formulation, but he assumes a greater degree of harmony amongst virtues or values than seems to be the case. And this is a particular problem in the case of social research, since its goal is in dispute.

Details

Virtue Ethics in the Conduct and Governance of Social Science Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-608-2

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 September 2009

Marcia Kurzynski

Current headlines depicting the billion dollar government bailouts of some of the world's largest business corporations suggest that a new paradigm of management is…

3510

Abstract

Purpose

Current headlines depicting the billion dollar government bailouts of some of the world's largest business corporations suggest that a new paradigm of management is needed. This paper seeks to propose that the management theory of Peter F. Drucker and certain Aristotelian concepts, expressed in the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, are applicable to the business community today.

Design/methodology/approach

Drucker's management philosophy is synthesized with the moral philosophy of Aristotle to suggest a practical management framework for contemporary business practitioners. In providing a virtue‐based moral framework for management grounded in a concern for character, communal wellbeing, and ultimate purpose, Drucker's Aristotelian‐style of business management provides a viable, virtue‐based management theory that contemporary managers should be able to embrace.

Findings

Drucker has been regarded as one of the most influential management thinkers of the twentieth century. It is suggested that, given the current level of morality shown in the behaviour of business people today – business leaders in particular, what is needed is a change in managerial perspective. A change from the prevailing concern with one's own wellbeing – how much one has, or can get for oneself – to include a concern for the wellbeing of others. It is proposed that Drucker's management philosophy, which reflects Aristotelian matters of character, community and telos, though formulated many years ago, provides a framework for improving managerial behaviour today.

Research limitations/implications

Drucker's pragmatic business commentary and advice reveal a deep understanding of the complexity of the business world and the realities of business from the perspective of the business person, and yet do not reject the overriding moral principles of integrity, community and achievement that serve as the foundation for society.

Originality/value

The paper offers a business‐relevant, virtue‐based perspective that, in the author's opinion, is more than adequate for a renewed vision of management in the twenty‐first century.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 November 2018

John Marangos, Niko Astroulakis and Eirini Triarchi

The purpose of this paper is to present the philosophical roots of development ethics as a field of study with its interdisciplinary character.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the philosophical roots of development ethics as a field of study with its interdisciplinary character.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual and historical evolution of development ethics is unfolded through Aristotle’s philosophy.

Findings

The authors argued that Aristotle’s philosophy, incorporating the concepts of “a good life” and “a good society,” defines ethical development and influences contemporary development ethics.

Originality/value

Development ethics is a relatively new field of study within social sciences and determines the ethical perspective of development in a holistic and normative manner. It is important to understand the antecedents, pioneers and contemporary practitioners of development ethics and how they are related. Based on the authors’ knowledge, there has been limited research regarding the origins of the concept of a “good society” as a determinant factor of development. In this context, Aristotle’s philosophy incorporating the concepts of a “good life” and a “good society” is the founding determinant in the study of ethical development.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 46 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 January 2012

Marcia Kurzynski

Current headlines depicting the billion dollar government bailouts of some of the world's largest business corporations suggest that a new paradigm of management is…

2852

Abstract

Purpose

Current headlines depicting the billion dollar government bailouts of some of the world's largest business corporations suggest that a new paradigm of management is needed. This paper seeks to propose that the management theory of Peter F. Drucker and certain Aristotelian concepts, expressed in the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, are applicable to the business community today.

Design/methodology/approach

Drucker's management philosophy is synthesized with the moral philosophy of Aristotle to suggest a practical management framework for contemporary business practitioners. In providing a virtue‐based moral framework for management grounded in a concern for character, communal well‐being, and ultimate purpose, the paper argues that Drucker's Aristotelian style of business management provides a viable, virtue‐based management theory that contemporary managers should be able to embrace.

Findings

Drucker has been regarded as one of the most influential management thinkers of the twentieth century. The author suggests that, given the current level of morality shown in the behaviour of business people today – business leaders in particular – what is needed is a change in managerial perspective. A change from the prevailing concern with one's own well‐being – how much one has, or can get for one's self – to include a concern for the well‐being of others. The author proposes that Drucker's management philosophy, which reflects Aristotelian matters of character, community and telos, though formulated many years ago, provides a framework for improving managerial behaviour today.

Research limitations/implications

Drucker's pragmatic business commentary and advice reveal a deep understanding of the complexity of the business world and the realities of business from the perspective of the business person, and yet does not reject the over‐riding moral principles of integrity, community and achievement that serve as the foundation for society.

Originality/value

The paper offers a business relevant virtue‐based perspective that, in this author's opinion, is more than adequate for a renewed vision of management in the twenty‐first century.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 4 August 2016

Giuseppe Naimo

The virtuous character and the ethical agent represent mutually inclusive terms, neither of which independently, in the Aristotelian tradition, is considered an innate…

Abstract

The virtuous character and the ethical agent represent mutually inclusive terms, neither of which independently, in the Aristotelian tradition, is considered an innate quality. Virtues, if not innate, are contingent; but what makes each instantiation recognisably general? Normative ethics in this sense is a dynamic process and similarly process philosophy is based on the principle that existence is dynamic and that it should be the primary focus of any philosophical account of reality. I argue that the transformative process is equally as important as the end result of realising the virtuous dispositional traits. An important criticism of virtue ethics is the focus on character and not rules such as industry practices and codes found in the professions. The criticism however is less worrisome than usually accepted. The reasoning herein developed to overcome this criticism rests on the presupposition that no one exists in isolation and virtues are developed in a social context and not simply given. Using process philosophy as a methodological approach to examine virtue ethical agency and the transformative process involved in its realisation elicits insights that allow the conceptual development of a more robust account of virtue ethics. I extend this nuanced rendition, in ways already commenced by others, into areas of organisational, environmental and intergenerational ethics.

Details

Contemporary Issues in Applied and Professional Ethics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-443-3

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2001

Jonathan Weinberg

Rejects arguments that ICANN is engaged in mere technical management or technical co‐ordination, rather than political governance. Examines ICANN’s structure through the…

Abstract

Rejects arguments that ICANN is engaged in mere technical management or technical co‐ordination, rather than political governance. Examines ICANN’s structure through the lens of Aristotle’s philosophy, stating Aristotle was not democratic in a modern sense. Proclaims Aristotle saw representative structures as an important check on élite and economic power, also as a source of valuable competing perspective.

Details

info, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 September 2011

Michael W. Small

The primary purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the writings of Aristotle and Cicero can be used to as a conceptual tool to promote an understanding of wisdom…

2308

Abstract

Purpose

The primary purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the writings of Aristotle and Cicero can be used to as a conceptual tool to promote an understanding of wisdom, moral duty, and related subjects in respect to contemporary business management practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology comprised a critical reading and analysis of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and Cicero's De Officiis (On Duties). The approach combines both historical and philosophical research. An earlier version of the paper was presented to a group of early/middle managers, and then to a group of more senior/experienced managers.

Findings

Both groups supported the idea that the article was appropriate for highlighting moral issues in contemporary business management practice.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation was dealing with the amount of material that Aristotle and Cicero produced. A secondary limitation was translating the original Greek and Latin (notwithstanding the Loeb Classical Library) into understandable everyday English.

Practical implications

Developing understanding of concepts, such as wisdom, moral duty, and related subjects should be included in MBA programs.

Originality/value

The paper has value because: it relates concepts and ideas conceived in Aristotle's and Cicero's time to contemporary management practice, and it illustrates that these ideas are still relevant and applicable in the modern business environment.

Article
Publication date: 1 August 1999

Colin Dougall

This paper takes as a datum that autopoiesis theory broadly conceived as a scientific doctrine can legitimately be viewed as a modern day rediscovery of Aristotle. This is…

Abstract

This paper takes as a datum that autopoiesis theory broadly conceived as a scientific doctrine can legitimately be viewed as a modern day rediscovery of Aristotle. This is argued for elsewhere. What is argued is that Maturanian organisation as it is currently conceived has serious deficiencies which threaten to compromise and undermine the role Maturana assigns it. The specific thesis it advances is that Maturanian organisation can be rescued from this dilemma if it is rethought as Aristotelian form.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 28 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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