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Character and Environment: The Status of Virtues in Organizations

Miguel Alzola
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 78, No. 3, 14th International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society (Mar., 2008), pp. 343-357
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25075615
Page Count: 15
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Character and Environment: The Status of Virtues in Organizations
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Abstract

Using evidence from experimental psychology, some social psychologists, moral philosophers and organizational scholars claim that character traits do not exist and, hence, that the philosophical tradition of virtue ethics is empirically inadequate and should dispose of the notion of character to accommodate the empirical evidence. In this paper, I systematically address the debate between dispositionalists and situationists about the existence, status and properties of character traits and their manifestations in human behavior, with the ultimate goal of responding to the question whether virtue ethicists need to abandon the very enterprise of building a character-based moral theory in business ethics and organizational behavior. In the course of this paper, I shall defend the claim that the situationist argument relies on a misinterpretation of the experimental evidence.

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