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Contracts to Communities: A Processual Model of Organizational Virtue

  • Heugens, P.P.M.A.R.
  • Kaptein, S.P.
  • van Oosterhout, J.
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    In the face of systemic challenges to corporate legitimacy, scholars and managers alike have been rethinking traditional answers to the question: What does it take to be a good company? We approach this question in two novel ways. We offer a normative answer, grounded in virtue ethics, by introducing a threefold typology of organizational forms. The moral goodness of each form depends on the congruence between its purpose and virtues. But we also offer a positive answer in the form of a processual model which traces corporate goodness to its empirical antecedents and consequences. The model defies a view of organizations as innately good or evil, but rather portrays virtue as the sediment of a value infusion process. We predict that if managers succeed in establishing in their organizations the kind of virtues necessary to support collective moral agency, they can expect to reap gains like enhanced effectiveness and legitimacy. However, when they neglect their moral responsibilities, the result will likely be organizational demise.

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    File URL: http://repub.eur.nl/pub/9728/ERS-2007-023-ORG.pdf
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    Paper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2007-023-ORG.

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    Date of creation: 04 Apr 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:9728
    Contact details of provider: Postal: RSM Erasmus University & Erasmus School of Economics, PoBox 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam
    Phone: 31-10-408 1182
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    Web page: http://www.erim.eur.nl/
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    1. Abagail McWilliams & Donald S. Siegel & Patrick M. Wright, 2005. "Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategic Implications," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0506, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
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    8. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
    9. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1993. "The Revenge of Homo Economicus: Contested Exchange and the Revival of Political Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 83-102, Winter.
    10. Dosi, Giovanni, 1997. "Opportunities, Incentives and the Collective Patterns of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1530-47, September.
    11. Williamson, Oliver E, 1971. "The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 112-23, May.
    12. Solomon, Robert C., 2003. "A Better Way to Think About Business: How Personal Integrity Leads to Corporate Success," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195167337, March.
    13. Sugden, Robert, 1989. "Spontaneous Order," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 85-97, Fall.
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