Character and Organization

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Abstract

In recent years, questions of 'character' have become increasingly prominent in a range of policy contexts, from education to social welfare, and from business to healthcare. They have also appeared in the field of organization studies, broadly defined, from Richard Sennett's critique of the 'corrosion of character' manifested in contemporary management and organizational cultures, through the invocation of the development of 'character' as an antidote to the wave of corporate scandals unfolding since the beginning of the millennium, up to and including the representation of 'character' as the 'critical success factor' in leadership development and a core dimension of an organization's 'talent acquisition strategy' . What unites the various contemporary paens is an assumption that building 'character' is a crucial component of ethics and that it holds the key to establishing and maintaining virtuous conduct; moreover, that the cultivation of 'character' is at best under-valued and at worst actively undermined and denigrated in any number of contemporary organizational practices. In this paper, we seek to interrogate key aspects of this 'turn' to character as it has been articulated in recent and on-going debates about the reform of organizational life. We argue that this 'turn' suffers precisely from an abstraction and lack of specificity - not simply in relation to questions of 'character formation', but also crucially in relation to questions of organization, and indeed of the relation of the one to the other - that severely curtails both its ethical reach and explanatory power.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventXIX ISA World Congress of Sociology 2018: Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses, Responsibilities - Toronto , Canada
Duration: 15 Jul 201821 Jul 2018
Conference number: 19
https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2018/cfp.cgi

Conference

ConferenceXIX ISA World Congress of Sociology 2018
Number19
CountryCanada
CityToronto
Period15/07/201821/07/2018
Internet address

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