The Role of Virtue in Good Management

  • Andrew WestEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbooks in Philosophy book series (HP)


Any investigation into “good management” raises questions about what it means to be a “good manager.” This itself suggests that there is more to moral theorizing than impartially analyzing the specific details of discrete decisions, and that some consideration ought to be paid to moral agents themselves and what constitutes their good. Such considerations are integral to the virtue ethics tradition. This chapter illustrates how the key features of Aristotelian virtue ethics are necessary for understanding moral issues, as they are faced by managers, using the issue of data manipulation as an example. Based on the view that a moral theory will only be useful for management if it can adequately describe such moral issues, it argues that the Aristotelian tradition is thereby well suited for application to managers. Three ways in which the Aristotelian perspective can contribute to good management are then presented, which include consideration of: the virtues or excellences relevant to managerial functions; those relevant to living well qua human; and the importance of both individual and common goods. The chapter closes by drawing attention to how the Aristotelian perspective stands in stark contrast to a common conception of ethics as compliance.


Aristotle Character Flourishing Management Moral agents Moral theory Virtues 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Accountancy, QUT Business SchoolQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Cristina Neesham
    • 1
  • Rob Macklin
    • 2
  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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