Is moral growth possible for managers? A pragmatist look at managerial ethics

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Every managerial choice is an opportunity to either grow or decline morally. Pragmatism, at least the Deweyan version presented here, maintains that there are no objective moral facts or values. Instead, our current moral outlook is the result of our past experiences and social interactions, and prone to evolve in the future. The function of morality in human lives is to make living together possible, but the morality that we inherit from our social surroundings is almost inescapably plagued by blind spots, biases, and narrowness. Like any other human being, the manager cannot choose their social background or inherited biases. What one can choose is to commit oneself to moral growth and a conscious attempt to expand one’s moral outlook. Some of the key habits in this path are remaining open to other perspectives, consciously seeking opposing and novel voices, interpreting them charitably, and engaging in moral imagination. The resulting progress is not “objective” growth but moral growth – in the sense that, through such cultivation, one’s moral outlook can better serve the basic function that such a system has in human lives and in one’s role as a manager. Given that morality is not something fixed but a continuous process, the key moral responsibility of a manager is to commit oneself to moral growth.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Philosophy of Management
EditorsSteven Segal, Cristina Neesham
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-48352-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameHandbooks in Philosophy
ISSN (Print)2524-4361
ISSN (Electronic)2524-437X


  • John Dewey
  • Moral development
  • Moral growth
  • Moral habits
  • Pragmatism
  • Constructivism


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