Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present the argument that in principle any company can become a good company by adopting certain characteristics which define the good in enterprise affairs and affirm and reinforce everyone with a stake in the company - managers, workers, suppliers, customers, and communities where it operates - in addition to its owners. Design/methodology/approach - To identify the characteristics of the good company the paper turns to Catholic social teaching, with its traditional emphasis on the importance of practising virtue in worldly affairs. In this regard, the paper relies heavily on the writings and public statements of Pope John Paul II, who addressed these matters with great clarity and insight. Findings - In its research the paper finds eight characteristics by which the good company can be identified and which, if embraced by the leadership of a willing and committed enterprise, can help to transform it into a good company. Each of the eight is addressed in some detail. Originality/value - The paper examines a vast body of writings that, according to Catholic social teaching, identify the good in enterprise affairs. One of the eight characteristics, personalist capital, advances the proposal that the good company routinely maximizes virtue among its stakeholders and thereby enhances its own profitability because the virtuous person is the more effective economic agent. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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