Aristotle's Ideas in the Modern Work Environment

Topics: Virtue, Friendship, Ethics Pages: 7 (2559 words) Published: November 30, 2012
Aristotle in the Modern Work Environment
In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, every point, every major idea, and every argument made, is all connected back to the concept that every action seeks an ultimate good. Aristotle felt that there is an intrinsic good that humans aim for and that there is this "good life" we all mean to have. However, what does it mean to be good? That means something different to everyone; we all inhabit many different roles in our day to day lives, whether we strive to be a good parent, a good sibling, a good student, a good citizen, or a good leader. All emphasize the importance of our own well-being, as well as that of others, and the greater community as a whole. For the purpose of this paper, the focus will be on work relationships, what it means to promote a good work environment, and how Aristotle's ideas relate to the modern work community. First, we will examine the characteristics of a great place to work, and then we will examine how each of Aristotle's main ideas on civic relationships relate to these modern work relationships.

Whether the association is that of an employee and an employer, a buyer and a seller, or even a manager and an investor, each relationship has common business ideas and common human needs. Sometimes companies get so caught up in the business ideas that the human needs become null. However, the most successful companies are the ones who are able to excel at both the business practices as well the care of their employees. So what defines a "great" place to work? Is it the business with the most elaborate holiday parties, the one with the highest paid employees, or perhaps is it the business that places value in the intangibles, such as trust, communication, and strong leadership? To define the traits of a positive work environment, we will examine the Great Place to Work website, who every year, partners with 5,000 plus companies and conducts a survey to find out exactly what a great workplace means.

Essentially, a great work environment can be defined by three main factors; employees trust the people they work for, they have pride in what they do, and they enjoy the people they work with. Of these three, it is the mutual trust that employees and employers have in one another that sets the foundation for a successful company. An employer can build trust with their workers by having credibility for the work output and treating them with respect and fairness. This in turn, creates a loyal employee who is dedicated to producing their highest quality of work as well as motivating others to do the same. Whether the business is a small ma-pop store, or a Fortune 500 corporation, all have the ability to achieve a cohesive work environment. The best of both an employee and an employer can be explained by Aristotle's views on happiness, the virtues and deliberation, justice, and friendship. All are interconnected, and when applied to a professional setting, help to promote an work environment that is beneficial for the company, but more importantly, the human good. Aristotle's most important concept is that of human happiness because happiness in and of itself was reaching the end good. According to him, humans have three parts to their soul. The first is the most basic, a vegetative state in which all living things share in which we are satisfying our most basic of needs. The next level is that reason that is grounded in emotion. The two are grounded in each other, and therefore, can be swayed by each other, such in that our emotions can influence our reason. Aristotle believed that true happiness was engaging the highest activity of the soul, our capacity for thought. He believed that happiness was "the human good [that proves to be] the activity of the soul in accord with virtue." In other words, a person living life to the fullest was the person pursuing their purpose in life with action, and reaching a certain amount of excellence in that purpose. In turn, that...
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