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Title: An enquiry on the morality and the self of managers through a Jungian perspective
Author: Rozuel, Cecile
ISNI:       0000 0004 2673 0415
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2009
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Business ethics research has developed along three main lines: the ethics of the business institution and the economic laws from which it derives; the ethics of the business organisation, and the issue of ascribing moral responsibility to a nonphysical entity; and the ethics of the business actor (Wood, 1991a). Focusing on the latter level of enquiry, we argue that understanding the ethics of business actors requires to articulate why and how ethical people sometimes do unethical things, and why and how sometimes they abstain from doing so. In order to investigate this "grey zone" (Levi, 1989), we focused on the moral perception and moral experiences of managers. Managers often occupy a key position in organisations, acting as an interface with various organisational and external stakeholders. Furthermore, managers face issues of a moral dimension almost everyday (Carroll, 2002). Moral philosophers and business ethicists have both endeavoured to define the moral character of management. In particular. Virtue Ethics in the tradition of Aristotle (1992), or interpreted by MacIntyre (1985) or Solomon (1992; 2002), has challenged the traditional approach to the issue of personal morality and emphasizes individual reflection on, and practice of, the virtues and of phronesis (practical wisdom). This important moral element remains ill-defined however. Psychology-based studies have attempted to decipher the process of ethical decision-making, but they have failed to consider the individual as a whole, rather than as an essentially cognitive or emotional being. Carl Jung's view of the psyche (1977; 2001b) is characteristically opposed to such approach. The archetypal self, representing the essence of the individual, is construed as the centre of the psyche, itself constituted by the conscious, the personal unconscious and a collective unconscious. In a Jungian perspective, achieving one's individuality, that is becoming "individuated", enables the person to relate to an ethical conscience, which is connected to the self and transcends the moral rules set up by customs and social habits (Jung, 1978b; 2002). Adopting an interpretivist perspective, a study was designed to explore the relevance of this conceptual framework and provide new elements to better understand the moral experiences of managers. Twenty-five managers were interviewed, and seven cases were analysed in depth. The findings suggest that the self occupies a central role in managers' morality, and that being connected to one's self and acting as an individual, freed from the collective persona we often play, fosters moral strength and moral courage, and enhances phronesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available