Embedded Moral Agency: A MacIntyrean Perspective on the HR Professional’s Dilemma

  • Tracy WilcoxEmail author
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 38)


In this chapter I cast a spotlight on the presupposed sociology implicit in any moral philosophy. Specifically, I examine how social actors in a business organisation – where contextual factors may constrain particular practices – come to exercise moral agency in their organisational roles. I consider MacIntyre’s argument that in contemporary social life ‘structures of compartmentalization’ tend to prevent the exercise of moral agency, and examine whether this was the case for a group of human resource managers in a global corporation in the midst of a downsizing exercise. I develop a more nuanced conceptualisation of moral agency and I apply this to the specifics of the modern business organisation, and consider how moral agency is seen to be constrained by what MacIntyre has termed ‘structures of compartmentalization’.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Management, Australia School of BusinessUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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