Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Strategy as Ethical Persuasion - How Aristotle Can Make Strategy Ethical

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posted on 2021-11-09, 00:50 authored by Aslak, Thore

In this thesis it is argued, that managers with strategic responsibilities are unlikely to commit to contemporary business ethics, because its deontological nature is limited for strategic work's teleological focus. This is a problem because when managers do not commit to business ethics, they can damage the ethical culture in their companies. Unethical cultures are nests for scandals and malpractices that can hurt companies' reputation and, in turn, their profits. However, if managers were to commit to ethical behaviour the ethical culture would strengthen. For that reason, I have proposed an Aristotelian approach to ethics that could be useful for managers, when making strategic decisions. This could help strengthen the ethical culture in their companies. Three managers with knowledge and experience of strategic decision making have been interviewed to test the usefulness and ethicality of the Aristotelian approach. The findings indicate that the Aristotelian approach could be useful for guiding strategic decision making. One respondent even said that the Aristotelian approach's rhetorical considerations could improve strategic decision making in his company. Despite finding the Aristotelian approach beneficial for strategic decision making, two of the respondents did not think that the approach would be used for strategic decision making in their companies. The approach was said to be too abstract for managers to use in relation to all the practical issues they have to deal with. All the respondents agreed, that the Aristotelian approach highlighted some ethical considerations, but they were reluctant to call it an ethical approach. However, it did not really matter to them whether the approach was ethical or not, because to them, strategic decisions where ethically neutral. This final statement supports that the deontological nature of contemporary business ethics is not useful for strategic work.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Management Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Management Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Cummings, Stephen