An Ethic of Care: A Relational Ethic for the Relational Characteristics of Organizations

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In this chapter, I review the evolution of an ethic of care over the last 30 years as a comprehensive ethical framework. It is a relational ethic that recognizes we are all embedded in webs of overlapping and dynamic concrete relationships throughout our personal and public lives, and expects concrete actions to enhance the well-being of those in the relationship. I then review the mainstream business and management journals, texts, and handbooks where it is rare, except in business ethics journals, to find any coverage of an ethic of care. However, the fundamental relationality of an ethic of care offers a highly congruent ethical basis for connecting with the significantly relational characteristic of organizations and societies in such areas as relational leadership, group dynamics, stakeholder theory, and social policy. I then conclude by exploring four issues that, in my mind, have been, to one degree or another, effectively addressed within an ethic of care as a comprehensive ethical framework for the business and organizational context. They are: (1) the issue of autonomy within relationality; (2) the relationship between rationality and whole person, practical reasoning; (3) the scope of an ethic of care across the falsely dichotomized private and public domains; and (4) the issue of care, markets, and bureaucracy.




Hawk, T. F. (2011). An Ethic of Care: A Relational Ethic for the Relational Characteristics of Organizations. In Issues in Business Ethics (Vol. 34, pp. 3–34). Springer Science and Business Media B.V.

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