Contracts to Communities: A Processual Model of Organizational Virtue

22 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2008

See all articles by Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Muel Kaptein

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

J. (Hans) van Oosterhout

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Heugens, Pursey P.M.A.R. and Kaptein, Muel and (Hans) van Oosterhout, J., Contracts to Communities: A Processual Model of Organizational Virtue. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 45, Issue 1, pp. 100-121, January 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1082623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2007.00738.x

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2365 (Phone)
0031 10 408 9012 (Fax)

Muel Kaptein

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 408 1923 (Phone)

J. (Hans) van Oosterhout

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Rotterdam
Netherlands

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