Philosophy of Management

Volume 7, Issue 1, 2008

MacIntyre, Empirics and Organisation

John Dobson
Pages 67-75

Utopia Reconsidered
The Modern Firm as Institutional Ideal

This paper challenges Alasdair MacIntyre’s assertion that the modern firm - such as Google, Unilever, or Microsoft - is inimical to human flourishing within an Aristotelian framework. The paper begins by questioning MacIntyre’s rendering of utopian communities. It then addresses four specific criticisms of the modern firm to be found throughout MacIntyre’s oeuvre, namely compartmentalisation, myopia, inequality, and loss of community. Arguments are made to the effect that these criticisms do not vitiate the institutional role of the modern firm in an Aristotelian context. The paper concludes with an invocation of the modern firm as institutional ideal within an evolving utopian vision of human flourishing. This is a utopian vision in which the modern firm plays a constructive, not corruptive, institutional role.