Aristotle’s Notion of Civic Relationships Essay
In an attempt to study how people inter-relate with all societal platforms, it is perhaps important to investigate how they form simple relationships such as friendship and family ties. Through the revision of these forms of relationships, an opportunity of analyzing the interconnection between people’s relationships within the individual and civic domains emerges. Understanding how people form loose relationships helps in addressing looser relationships such as civic links. This paper has three objectives. First, it discusses Aristotle’s notion of civic relationships. Second, it discusses the notions of best work practices. Lastly, it compares and contrasts these two notions.
Aristotle’s Ideas on Civic Relationships
Civic relationships differ from other forms of friendships among people in society. Even though there lacks scholarly agreement on the precise definition of a civic relationship, Bostock maintains, “It should characterize the way that persons interact with each other in the public sphere” (25). For such a relationship to have any meaning, it also needs to possess friendship interconnectedness and civic dimensions. Civic qualities involve the desire to take part in the public sphere. They underline the agenda that one has as a citizen. However, it does not equal to being a national figure, although it provides a mechanism of explaining how citizens unite at a civic position.
The term ‘civic’ stands for a different type of relationship, apart from an individual or personal relationship and political or public realm relationships. The manner in which people conduct themselves (how they form and establish civic relationships) defines their effectiveness in workplaces. Therefore, the best practices at workplaces remain an important aspect of defining or providing channels for establishing working civic relationships at workplaces. The idea of best practices at work stems from Aristotle’s perceptions and ideas on civic relationships.
Aristotle believes that individual’s and civic companionship or friendships are interconnected. He emphasizes the necessity of this interconnection while insisting that such close associations are fundamental aspects of prosperous human living. Civic friendship constitutes all critical aspects of human good (Bostock 27). According to Bostock, Aristotle believes that civic friendships serve the principal function of “assisting to sustain the performance, regulation and conferring fairness in the state, but furthermore to make likely the cultivation of individual friendships that are founded on virtue” (29). To reinforce these roles, a personal acquaintance that is built on the platform of merits helps in terms of aligning and mitigating the likelihood of interference and/or state dishonesty. When people perceive themselves as good civic associates, they can have the ability to come into agreement with broad-based issues that are anchored on the pillars of good public engagement principles, especially on crucial aspects of collective advantage. As such, civic relationships deliver collective societal happiness (Aristotle 4).
According to Aristotle, it is impossible to provide a complete account of conditions that lead to the attainment of the highest level of happiness or public good (13). Nevertheless, personal reasons, together with people’s souls, which Aristotle terms as virtues, play important roles in achieving happiness. Aristotle asserts that some virtues, which contribute to happiness such as justice, sense, courage, and generosity, are functions of the manner of one’s upbringing (Bostock 31; Aristotle 10). However, happiness depends on the existence of the correct law within a state. Such a law helps in shaping people’s character, which then leads to a good life.
The highest good that people aim at is happiness. True happiness is perfect. It also attracts distinct determinations to realize it. Happiness ensures that life becomes selectable, although it does not amount to anything. As such, life is understood as happiness. This claim suggests that happiness constitutes an alternative rational virtue (Aristotle, 13). Aristotle believes that virtues fall into two distinctions. Dianoetic merit links with an open-minded character while ethical qualities links with an appetitive spirit, which is led by the influence of motivation. For instance, he believes that people’s appetites are ordered in the right way if they compel them to act in moderate ways. According to Aristotle, justice implies doing what is in the best interest of another person to promote the overall good such that such actions translate into happiness. From the perspectives of justice, virtues are practical to the extent that they enable people to do good, rather than just becoming knowledgeable. However, he strongly believes that the right actions depend on specifics for each situation as opposed to the direct application of the correct law in all situations. In such scenarios, prudent wisdom becomes important.
From the Aristotelian approach, justice comprises a virtue. He defines justice as constituting particular and general senses. General justice comprises virtues that are reflected in people’s relationships with other people. Hence, justified people can deal with other people with fairness and in a proper manner. For instance, such people should not cheat or engage in acts that lead to denial of what is owed to other people. In choosing what to do and not to do, Aristotle believes that deliberation is important. Virtues make goals right. Rather, “…deliberation proceeds from a goal that is far more specific than the goal of attaining happiness by acting virtuously” (Bostock 54). Thus, deliberation is essential in ensuring that people act in justified ways, which lead to the utmost happiness for all.
Best Places to Work
Various practices make workplaces such as Great Workplace Institute good for employees (“Great Place to Work: What is a Great Workplace” par.1). The organization claims that standards that describe best workplaces help organizations to adopt appropriate benchmarks to enhance their effectiveness. However, the organization raises the question of the components of a great workplace, which it claims can be answered from employees and managerial staff perspectives.
The organization asserts that great workplaces are a function of relationships that people develop in their daily operations during workplace interactions as opposed to the design and implementation of best practice checklist (“Great Place to Work: What is a Great Workplace” par.1). In all workplaces, the organization claims that the main catalyst for enhancing success is trust among all people who interact daily. Trust is important to the extent that the lack of it may lead to workplace conflicts.
Some conflicts within an organisation can emerge due to a lack of trust for the HR to handle differences between two disagreeing employees. This situation makes parties that engage in conflict expand their differences when permitted to take matters in their own hands. This observation implies that HRM deserves to evaluate the circumstances that may cause disregard upon considering the role of HRM in conflict resolution. Van Gramberg supports this position by further claiming, “interpersonal skills are important to managers about building workplace trust and cooperation from staff members who are collectively accountable for furthering business goals” (94). One of the roles of management in an organisation is to ensure a peaceful environment that is characterised by workforce collaboration in the effort to meet the goals, mission, and aims of an organisation.
Great workplaces also make people have pride in being part of an organisation that has employed them. This makes such workplaces enjoyable for the employees, thus implying the workplaces are fun. Fun in workplaces is important in enhancing the productivity of workers through increased work motivation. Funny workplaces ensure that people have vitality, energy, and enthusiasm to do work. Such workplaces make people feel that what they do is important and that they must ensure they do it to their best. Thus, a great workplace delivers utmost good for all people within an organization. However, in workplaces, happiness is a function of fair management and the anticipation of reasonable treatment of employees by the management. The degree of pride also depends on the extent of connection among the employees and their managers. This claim suggests that management has a role to play in ensuring great workplaces.
From the dimension of management, great workplaces are those that help in the achievement of organizational objectives, goals, and missions. To achieve these organizational concerns, employees offer their commitment while working in a teamwork environment to facilitate the attainment of organizational success. In this case, trust among employees encompasses an essential component of enhanced teamwork and group cohesiveness. In great workplaces, organizational objectives are achieved by ensuring ardent communication, listening, inspiring, and motivation. As such, managers have to be caring, critical thinkers, and/or focused on employee development.
Comparing and Contrasting Aristotle’s Ideas and Notions of Best Places to Work
Positive interactions among people in workplaces have the effect of developing a productive work environment. From Aristotle’s ideas, this environment requires people to engage in individual deliberations to determine what is appropriate and/or what serves the best interest of co-workers. The strategy helps in delivering justice to all people. In this extent, the concept of justice as developed by Aristotle compares with The Great Workplace Institute’s approach to relationships in workplaces based on trust. Perhaps, trusted co-workers can hardly arrive at decisions that can harm their team members. Indeed, a conflict in the workplace denies people happiness to the extent that it causes animosity among employees and management.
From Aristotle’s point of view, mitigation of situations that lead to denial or erosion of good faith among employees is disastrous to the establishment of positive workplace relationships. Hence, managers should ensure happiness in workplaces. Happiness can provide avenues for the generation of new ideas while reducing conflicts and boredom between work team members. Nevertheless, some incidents, which create happiness in workplaces, may be disastrous. However, they are not adequately taken into consideration in Aristotle and Great Workplace Institute’s notions. Some activities that amount to fun, such as making jokes with colleagues may harm an organization’s productivity due to the emerging conflicts, especially where the jokes lead to negative stereotyping. Even though activities that lead to happiness in workplaces are crucial, some of them may destroy positive employee relations. A manager can address this challenge by creating an inclusive culture for people from all diversities. In turn, the plan highlights the importance of Aristotle’s idea of deliberation.
While creating effective workplaces, people who interact in a work environment need to do what is good for other people. From Aristotle’s line of thought, friendship merely represents a reciprocal for doing what is good. Hence, to create trust within workplaces, people must portray this attitude towards other people. Thus, managers and other people in the workplace must act and wish good for one another for long-lasting friendships to exist. Positive relationships are crucial for enhanced organizational productivity. However, one might want to know whether such relationships can be cultivated. A yes response to this interrogative suggests that a simple guide into best practices in workplaces can help an organization to create productive workplaces, which all people can enjoy. However, Aristotle believes that such a kit cannot help in creating working positive relationships since such an approach suggests that virtues can be developed through the deployment of the correct law.
Aristotelian and The Great Workplace Institutes’ notions seek to prescribe mechanisms of ensuring that people work coherently while treating each other with fairness in their day-to-day interactions in workplaces (“Great Place to Work: What is a Great Workplace” par. 4). Inducing happiness in workplaces calls for the addressing of the likelihood of the emergence of conflicts. Although the work of Aristotle does not discuss any work-related conflicts, it focuses on virtues such as justice and friendship. These virtues highlight the necessity for the creation of cohesive forces among different people. Comparatively, the institute addresses directly how and the need to ensure positive working relationships in workplaces. For instance, the institute claims that it determines contacts and settings that constitute and/or strengthen the global enviable administrative center (“Great Place to Work: What is a Great Workplace” par.6). The term ‘desirable’ implies something that all people endeavor to achieve or experience. From Aristotle’s approach, things that do not deliver happiness or general goodness cannot be desired or admired by people who reason to arrive at conclusions that are of good to all people they engage within civic relationships.
Although both notions emphasize the need to create good personal and interpersonal relationships in social interactions such as workplaces, they fail to mention the likely undesired consequences of seeking to please people by only engaging in actions that are declared as deliberately right and consistent with the correct law. In workplaces, good civic relationships among people may result in better group and work team cohesiveness. However, people may utilize much of their time while building such civic and friendship relationships as opposed to a commitment to engaging in productive work. For example, from the Aristotle idea on virtues, when an individual is injured while operating a machine, it is just and most appropriate for co-workers to rescue the injured person in the attempt to showcase care and concern with his or her condition. Is it necessary to over dwell on the issue so that operations in a workplace temporarily come to a halt?
Should people compromise the goals and objectives of an organization and invest their time and energy while developing interpersonal relationships or civic relationships? Aristotle ideas will contend that organizational objectives can be achieved when there is harmony and/or when employees are happy with their interactions. The Great Workplace Institute adds that people who have excellent inter and intra-personal relationships achieve more productivity about those who have poor interactions because of focusing on executing highly specialized work units. However, an important question arises on whether personal or interpersonal happiness implies organizational happiness.
Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. London: Hackett Publishing, 2014. Print.
Bostock, David. Aristotle’s Ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
Great Place to Work: What is a Great Workplace? 2014. Web.
Van Gramberg, Benardine. Managing Workplace Conflict: Alternative Dispute Resolution in Australia. Annandale, N.S. W.: Federation Press, 2005. Print.
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