Heart-Centred Virtue Ethics for Raising Ecological Consciousness in Organisations

Carnegie, Kashonia Looeze (2000). Heart-Centred Virtue Ethics for Raising Ecological Consciousness in Organisations PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics, University of Queensland.

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Author Carnegie, Kashonia Looeze
Thesis Title Heart-Centred Virtue Ethics for Raising Ecological Consciousness in Organisations
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Classics
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2000-01-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor William Grey
Julian Lamont
Arthur Shulman
Language eng
Subjects 2203 Philosophy
Abstract/Summary This is a multi-disciplinary applied ethics thesis in the field of applied environmental business ethics. As such, whilst it is primarily anchored in philosophical literature; theory and literature from the fields of environment, education, management, social science, and psychology, all play a significant part. As this is an applied ethics thesis, as opposed to a traditional philosophy thesis, it not only addresses the issue concerned, but also theoretically demonstrates how the proposed alternative approaches might be applied. Methodologically, the underpinning assumption for the thesis stems from the social constructionist belief that external influences can result in internal personal change. The overall thesis has been designed and structured taking a systems approach. As in nature itself, there is an overall aim or system, within which there are many interconnecting sub-systems or theories that can stand alone, but are also directly linked to each other so that my desired outcome can be achieved. In addition, the McCarthy/Kolb 4 Mat System of learning style preference has been embedded into the structure. Due to the multi-disciplinary and applied nature of the thesis, together with the aim and content of the study, a number of specific writing techniques have been employed. These techniques are intended to model some of the recommended strategies, and include inclusive language where possible, and a minimum amount of assumed knowledge, with narratives and stories sprinkled throughout each chapter, where relevant. Finally, a number of established theories have been used to support my proposal for a Heart-Centred Virtue Ethics. The foundation theory is virtue-based ethics, with a primary focus on the work of David Hume, and to a lesser extent Aristotle. This foundation theory is, in turn, supported by a number of dimensions of environmental philosophy including ecofeminism, ethics of care, and the transformational aspect of deep ecology. The relatively new management field of emotional intelligence also plays a major role. The context in which the thesis is set is sustainability from an organisational perspective, and the motivations for caring for nature, which are generally based on externally imposed, content-driven rules, from an anthropocentric perspective. However, I argue that the ideal motivation for caring for nature is based internally, on environmental virtue. Thus, people are taking care of the environment because in their heart they want to, not begrudgingly because externally imposed rules say that they have to. I suggest that movement through various levels of motivation to virtue might occur with an increase in ecological consciousness. In support of these claims, the main elements of environmental philosophy are discussed, and the relevant theories of virtue are presented, including environmental virtue. It is then argued that virtue per se is not enough – that for one to be environmentally virtuous, one needs to have some kind of relationship with nature. To that end, the tenets of ecofeminism, and ethics of care, both based on the notion of relationship, are introduced. However, the dilemma is then presented; “How do you persuade the predominantly male business community of the benefits of the so-called soft skills of virtue, ecofeminism, and ethics of care?” An answer comes in the form of the new management field of emotional intelligence that is gaining acceptance amongst leading-edge organisations worldwide. Having introduced the concept of emotional intelligence, I then demonstrate that the main characteristics and aims of emotional intelligence are virtually identical to those of ethics of care and virtue, and ecofeminism. Therefore, initially the aims of these philosophies can be achieved within the business community, under the guise of emotional intelligence. With all the relevant theories firmly in place, I then return to the notion of raising ecological consciousness, and argue that one way that ecological consciousness might be raised is with a process-oriented, action strategy, that I call Heart-Centred Virtue Ethics. I then theoretically explore the application of heart-centred virtue ethics which is primarily based on emotional intelligence implementation strategies, combined with some intellectual intelligence procedures, and a third ingredient, meta-intelligence.
Keyword environmental ethics
sustainable development
environmental philosophy
heart centred intelligence
triple bottom line
ecological affirmative action
natural capitalism
emotional intelligence

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Created: Fri, 24 Oct 2008, 21:21:30 EST