Reactionary Essay to If Aristotle Ran General Motors, by Tom Morris

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In the book, If Aristotle Ran General Motors, Tom Morris argues that the teachings of the ancients can and should be applied to today's corporation. His message is that the four virtues - truth, beauty, goodness, and unity - form the foundation of human excellence. Putting them into practice leads not only to self-fulfillment, but ultimately to an open, nurturing, and ethical workplace that is more productive and successful in the long-term. The purpose of this essay is to examine how Morris treats the system of ethics in relation to these four virtues. Ethics and Big Business

It's difficult not to be cynical about how “big business” treats the subject of ethics in today's world. In many corporations, where the only important value is the bottom line, most executives merely give lip service to living and operating their corporations ethically.

Morris defines morality as that aspect of our nature which strives for goodness, and he stresses that most people have misunderstood this dimension of human life. After searching through miles and miles of quotations, Morris came to the conclusion that most people's attitudes about ethics and morality were basically negative. That is, that morality was somehow put into place in order to prevent us from really enjoying life. They look at ethics as a restrictive form of social control. Morris believes that until we untangle ourselves from this illusion, “we will not appreciate one of the most important foundations for positive corporate spirit and sustainable success” (Morris p. 116). The Basic Question

The “What's in it for me?” mindset that so many people live with in today's world can appear to be a selfish question. Morris believes that it's anything but selfish. He thinks that it's the question of a very “prudent” nature. At first, I balked at this idea, prone that I am to cut people off at the knees. However, after reading further, I concluded that Morris' statement has a great deal...
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