Building on Werhane's foundation
toward a theory of the morally imaginative organization
Patricia Werhane's landmark book Moral Imagination in Management Decision-making and subsequent related work are practically synonymous with business ethics scholarship on moral imagination. In this chapter, I present an overview of Werhane's work on moral imagination, discuss its impacts in the business and business ethics literatures and beyond, and then offer a theoretical extension. Integrating Werhane's scholarship that treats moral imagination as an organization-level concept with Nonaka's (1991) theory of the knowledge-creating company, I present the concept of the morally imaginative organization. Recognizing that leaders of organizations in complex, dynamic environments will be unable to anticipate, identify, and/or respond to the many moral dilemmas that their organizations enact (or fail to enact), I present a normative model in which moral imagination involves all organizational actors and is embedded into the organization's strategically important knowledge-creating processes. I call for further research at the intersection of business ethics and social science which honors Werhane's legacy by exploring how organizations can become more morally imaginative.
Hargrave, T. J. (2018)., Building on Werhane's foundation: toward a theory of the morally imaginative organization, in R. E. Freeman, S. Dmytriyev & A. C. Wicks (eds.), The moral imagination of Patricia Werhane, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 73-94.
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