For several decades, employees have been anticipating to find the best workplaces where individuals are contented with working conditions and their workplace surroundings. A contenting environment provides great motivation for workforce and it allows individuals to practice their profession skillfully, while understanding that corporate building requires their physical and psychological engagement. In addition, empirical studies have proved that best workplace environment increases employees’ productivity.
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From the ancient writings to the contemporary theoretical and empirical literature, the issue of preeminent or best places has been evolving over the years. Aristotle’s ethical writings have existed for a long time and labor, leisure, and freedom in workplaces have arguably been critical issues that Aristotle intensively discussed. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is one of the ethical writings that have spurred understanding of ethics of work place relations. This essay analyzes essential ethics of work with reference to Aristotle and his conceptions about relationships at work coupled with comparing contemporary notions of best places to work.
Aristotle’s ideas on civic relationships
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is a broad book that includes discussion of how persons should define the word ‘good’. The book discusses aspects of moral virtues, intellectual virtues, describes moral continence and incontinence, describes that nature of friendship, as well as discussing how persons should define pleasure and happiness. Of the major issues discussed by Aristotle in his conceptions about workplace ethics, civic relationships formed a great part of these ancient writings. It remains an important element from his philosophical pedagogy on principally what comprise the human good (Aristotle 18).
Based on the aspects of Aristotelian ethics, the convictions that lie within public relations is that the virtue of personal character can significantly supply a civic vinculum capable of bonding citizens notwithstanding their family, race, ethnicity, or even nationality backdrops. Aristotle’s ideas of civic association hinge on “self” and the “other self” that heavily advocates for having a civic bond or vinculum that potentially bind citizens.
Aristotle’s convictions on Happiness and virtues
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics hinged upon the philia politike notion of relationship that explains three distinct forms of civic rapport that entail friendship of utility, friendship of pleasure, and friendship of virtue (Aristotle 21). However, happiness is one of the major concepts of Aristotelian ethics discussed by Aristotle. Happiness is a key component in spurring civic relationship. According to the Aristotelian ethics, a great confusion is constantly prevailing on how individuals define and distinguish goodness from happiness, and happiness from pleasure.
From the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, happiness is eminent when friendship exist and that small pieces of personal good fortune and achievement can barely make people happy forever, but a multitude of enormous events make life happier (Aristotle 21). Based on Aristotle’s conviction, happiness of a good life (eudaimonia) remains impossible if others are in grieve. Aristotle further argues that happiness is a contemplative and virtual activity, characterized by unity of will and action that is achievable in the presence of intellect and reason.
A critical discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics provided by Aristotle is the argument and conversation over the aspect of virtue. The writing discusses two important virtues, viz. moral virtues and intellectual virtues. “For we say that some of the virtues are intellectual and others are moral, philosophic wisdom and understanding and practical wisdom being intellectual, liberty and temperate moral” (Aristotle 30).
Based on the conviction of the Aristotelian ethics, virtue can connote a state of personal character concerned with choice. Individuals, who are virtuous as per Aristotle’s conception, “enjoy acting virtuously for their virtuous actions undeniably make them happy” (Aristotle 32). Aristotle affirms that moral virtues are never intrinsic, but they develop gradually by developing a practice of exercising them as in the sense that individuals are only truthful when they act truthfully. Morally virtuous action requires “people to choose how to respond to their feeling and thoughts” (Aristotle 42). Intellectual virtues in Aristotelian ethics include scientific and technical skills.
Aristotle’s thoughts on deliberation
Aristotelian ethics also involved crucial discussion on the aspects of deliberation or forethought where from his philosophical ideologies, Aristotle’s civic friendship recognizes important consensus regarding rights, toleration, and universal value of care. Deliberation denotes a sense of humane, care, or consideration coupled with demonstrating virtues of kindness and selflessness (Aristotle 27). Drawing reference from the ancient knowledge retrieved from the practice of mothering and caring, Aristotle considers the virtue of caring as an important relationship determiner.
From the Nicomachean ethics, an important virtue in civic friendship is deliberation and Aristotle affirms that friendship seems to hold nations together, and hence lawgivers should care more of friendship than of justice, since unanimity is just akin to friendship. Derived from the practice of mothering and caring for children, Aristotle believes that individuals with upright morals and good virtues should always care for themselves and others. Aristotle thus claims that friendship should not treasure goods of money and honor, but enhance universal value of care.
Aristotle’s suggestions on justice and friendship
Of the entire writings included in the Aristotelian ethics, friendship and justice are two paramount aspects lengthily discussed with Aristotle describing friendship (philia) as an essential component in the principles of goodness and virtue. The ethics of Aristotle identified three forms of friendship based on three concepts namely friendship of pleasure, friendship of utility, and friendship of virtue. Individuals may find themselves in a companionship simply because of the mutuality of pleasure they receive from acquaintances, while others form friendships after realizing morals inherent in others.
Aristotle holds that the “motives behind developing friendship should remain clear and it is important for individuals to determine the nature of their companionship” (24). Inasmuch as friendship is essential, it requires understanding of how it emerges central to its possibility to actuality. Aristotle advocates for virtue correlation where mutual consideration and appreciation for one another prevail, presence of mutual trust and respect, cooperation and having a feeling of caring, and affection for each other.
From Aristotle’s literal writings, moral virtues take account of self-discipline, humility, friendliness, temperance, courage, modesty, truthfulness, moderation, honesty, generosity, and righteousness. As Aristotle articulates, “Virtues normally remain concerned with actions and passions and every passion and every action remains accompanied by pleasure and pain” (35). As justice is part of good virtues, iniquity comes out as an immoral element that entails inequity and lawlessness. Aristotle posits, “Virtue of fairness principally demands that the dispensation and dependability to individuals in any given situation should be achievable through consideration of equality and proportionality (commonly known as distributive justice)” (33). Acts of partiality, discrimination, and bigotry of any form are part of potential vices to morality and proper virtues.
The traits of the “best places to work”
The desire to achieve positive results innately from employees depends intensively on numerous workplace conditions that influence several aspects of human performances. This section reviews traits of the “best places to work” developed from the Great Place to Work, which is a global human resource consulting, research, and training center. The Great Place to Work provides organizations with intensive management coaching and culture consulting services including teaching, inspiring, and connecting professionals to build workplace cultures aimed at improving organizational performance.
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The Great Place to Work is also renowned for producing and publishing annual Fortune 100 best companies to work with across the world. Convictions developed from the Best Places to Work Institute is that all organizations are capable of providing good working environment and for such reasons, any company can prove to be a great workplace if dedicated to improving its operations. From reviewing attributes connected to best places to work institute, a number of issues related to the workplace environment protracted from the website.
From the Best Places to Work institute, every organization dedicated to enhancing its performance is capable of emerging as a great workplace for employees. From the institutions’ conceptions based on employees’ viewpoint, a great place to work is an organization in which individuals trust the people they work for (employers), are contented and proud in their professional practices within their organizations, as well as appreciating their workmates while at the same time enjoying working with their co-workers.
Great workplaces develop through building good relationships throughout successive periods and trusting employers, being proud of individuals’ duties and enjoying the companionship of co-workers are critical factors. From the managers’ attitude, a great place to work is where leaders are capable of achieving their objectives, practicing their professional techniques, and presence of cooperation is integral.
Comparison over civic relationships (Aristotle & modern workplaces)
Despite its ancient view over public or civic relationship of which organizations are inclusive, Aristotle’s ideas about civic relationships are greatly repelling with empirical evidence drawn from modern studies that provide contemporary notions about best places to work. Though Aristotle’s conceptions about the best workplaces provide slightly some significant correlation with postmodern thinking about workplaces, indeed there is still a great variance. The modern workplaces barely proves to follow significant virtues articulated in the Aristotle’s business ethics as industrialization and globalization efforts have resulted in completely different business standards that base on client satisfaction and market triumph (Aristotle 30).
From his conception on business ethics, Aristotle constantly develops and defends organizational ethics emanating from the proper utilization of practical knowledge and prudence of friendship. Organization should understand the common good and mutual understanding and concern for everyone. Organizations should realize friendship in binding together participants in a democratic conduct, with everyone given equal rights to agree, criticize, and object through critical decision-making processes.
Aristotelian phronesis greatly advocates for aesthetic utopian based on the notion that individuals should serve as a horizon for exercising human good. As postulated earlier, the Nicomachean Ethics or Aristotelian ethics provide a clear meaning of ‘good’ where it means that which every action aims at achieving (Aristotle 35). Clearly, a contrasting image is developing over the years given the transformation of political and economic orders across the world and organizations as workplaces dramatically change with advancing economical demands.
The current leadership structures, which have developed into hierarchical orders with ethnical and racial prejudice, have failed to recognize the significance of practicing the virtuous friendship that Aristotle considers imperative in organizations. Postmodern organizations have adopted either forms of leadership considered as democratic or autocratic, though there is great prevalence of illegitimate practices of subjugating employees’ efforts to exercise their professional practices with desired freedom. Cases of racial, ethnical, and gender disparity are emanating from an organization, with little hope of employees experiencing the practice of common good.
The ancient philosophical writings of Aristotle that articulated critical aspects of virtues and goodness are arguably the most significant philosophies that provide substantial teachings about ethics. The idea of goodness that determines the moral quality of actions determines significant issues underlying public relationships. Organizations will improve in several aspects of its management if members consider creating friendship of virtue that considers selfless understanding and being concerned about the welfare of others. According to the Aristotelian or Nicomachean Ethics, individuals should understand the significance of virtuous actions and realize the motives behind engaging in friendships.
A contrary notion develops when one considers Aristotle’s ideas about civic relationships with those contemporary notions of best places to work articulated in the annual research developed by the Great Place to Work. Civic friendships characterized by good virtues are no longer priorities for postmodern organizations where employees only feel contented when they are proud of their duties and managers are capable of achieving their objectives. Therefore, organizations are slowly adopting the timeless views of Aristotle in a bid to become the best work places in the contemporary market place.
Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Trans. William Ross. New York: Filiquarian Publishing, LLC, 2007. Print.