Moral Judgment in Management: the role of phronesis and aporia

Rob Macklin

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    In this chapter I argue that moral decision making in management should not be portrayed as a scientific or technically rational process involving the application of ethical norms to ethical problems. Rather ethical judgements require managers to use phronesis (practical reasoning) when applying normative criteria to the inevitably unique circumstances of any case. Moreover, I argue that such judgments are complex and fundamentally aporetic (perplexing). To begin I define ‘ethics’ and refer to examples of ethical dilemmas. I then discuss the problems posed by attempts to inflexibly apply ethical norms to such dilemmas, especially in global contexts. Consequently, I refer readers to decision making models that writers have put forward as aids to decency but warn decent managers to avoid the tyranny of guidelines. I then discuss the role phronesis should play in moral judgement and the inevitability of aporia. I conclude with suggestions for developing managers’ practical wisdom.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEngagement & Change
    Subtitle of host publicationexploring management, economic and finance implications of a globalising environment
    Place of PublicationBowen Hills, Queensland
    PublisherAustralian Academic Press
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)9781875378883
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


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