Practices, Governance, and Politics: Applying MacIntyre's Ethics to Business

Matthew Sinnicks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)
    144 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper argues that attempts to apply Alasdair MacIntyre’s positive moral theory to business ethics are problematic, due to the cognitive closure of MacIntyre’s concept of a practice. I begin by outlining the notion of a practice, before turning to Moore’s attempt to provide a MacIntyrean account of corporate governance. I argue that Moore’s attempt is mismatched with MacIntyre’s account of moral education. Because the notion of practices resists general application I go on to argue that a negative application, which focuses on regulation, is more plausible. Large-scale regulation, usually thought antithetical to MacIntyre’s advocacy of small-scale politics, has the potential to facilitate practice-based work and reveals that MacIntyre’s own work can be used against his pessimism about the modern order. Furthermore, the conception of regulation I defend can show us how management is more amenable to ethical understanding than MacIntyre’s work is often taken to imply.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-249
    JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    • MacIntyre
    • practices
    • management
    • regulation
    • virtue-ethics


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