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Topics: Organization, Organizational studies, Organizational culture Pages: 36 (10591 words) Published: August 13, 2013
Americanhttp://abs.sagepub.com/ Scientist Behavioral

Exploring the Relationships between Organizational Virtuousness and Performance Kim S. Cameron, David Bright and Arran Caza American Behavioral Scientist 2004 47: 766 DOI: 10.1177/0002764203260209 The online version of this article can be found at: http://abs.sagepub.com/content/47/6/766

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Exploring the Relationships Between Organizational Virtuousness and Performance KIM S. CAMERON DAVID BRIGHT ARRAN CAZA
University of Michigan Business School Case Western Reserve University University of Michigan Business School

ARTICLE

The importance of virtuousness in organizations has recently been acknowledged in the organizational sciences, but research remains scarce. This article defines virtuousness and connects it to scholarly literature in organizational science. An empirical study is described in which the relationships between virtuousness and performance in 18 organizations are empirically examined. Significant relationships between virtuousness and both perceived and objective measures of organizational performance were found. The findings are explained in terms of the two major functions played by virtuousness in organizations: an amplifying function that creates self-reinforcing positive spirals, and a buffering function that strengthens and protects organizations from traumas such as downsizing. Keywords: positive; organizational; scholarship; virtue

The idea that organizational performance could be related to virtuousness in organizations or to virtuousness enabled by organizations has been a foreign idea until very recently. Linking virtuous behavior with organizational behavior has traditionally been an uncomfortable idea in scholarly circles. Empiricism and virtuousness have usually not been located in the same domain. This investigation, however, aims to join these separate domains by defining and measuring the concept of organizational virtuousness and exploring its relationship to the performance of organizations.

Authors’Note: The support of the John Templeton Foundation (Grant #5110) is gratefully acknowledged. We also express appreciation to Loren Dyck, Ryan Falcone, Richard Teo, and Erica Friedman for assistance in data collection. AMERICAN BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST, Vol. 47 No. 6, February 2004 766-790 DOI: 10.1177/0002764203260209 © 2004 Sage Publications

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Cameron et al. / ORGANIZATIONAL VIRTUE AND PERFORMANCE

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THE CONCEPT OF VIRTUOUSNESS Virtuousness is associated with what individuals and organizations aspire to be when they are at their very best. States of virtuousness are uniquely human, and they represent conditions of flourishing, ennoblement, and vitality (Lipman-Blumen, & Leavitt, 1999). Virtuousness has been defined in connection with meaningful life purpose (Becker, 1992; Overholser, 1999), the ennoblement of human beings (Eisenberg, 1990), personal flourishing (Nussbaum, 1994; Weiner, 1993), and that which leads to health, happiness, transcendent meaning, and resilience in suffering (Myers, 2000a, 2000b; Ryff & Singer, 1998). It produces “moral muscle,” willpower, or stamina in the face of challenges (Baumeister & Exline, 1999, 2000; Emmons, 1999; Seligman, 1999). At the aggregate level, virtuousness has been associated with organizations, communities, and cultures. According to economist Adam Smith...

Citations: http://abs.sagepub.com/content/47/6/766.refs.html
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Exploring the Relationships Between Organizational Virtuousness and Performance
Authors’Note: The support of the John Templeton Foundation (Grant #5110) is gratefully acknowledged. We also express appreciation to Loren Dyck, Ryan Falcone, Richard Teo, and Erica Friedman for assistance in data collection.
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AMERICAN BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST
philanthropy, environmentally friendly programs, or utilizing renewable resources (Bollier, 1996; Margolis & Walsh, 2001)
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Virtuousness also buffers the organization from the negative effects of trauma or distress by enhancing resiliency, solidarity, and a sense of efficacy (Masten et al., 1999; Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld, 1999)
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