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Moral economic regulation in organizations: a university example

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date03/2008
JournalOrganization
Journal number2
Volume15
Number of pages18
Pages147-164
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Starting from the standpoint that all organizations have some kind of moral principles and norms governing what their members are supposed to do and how they should be rewarded, the paper analyses a university example of the moral economy of organizations—the rationales of points systems for governing the workloads of academics and the dilemmas they create. These systems are supposed to value and allocate work according to principles of fairness, but have typically to be modified to take account of personal and economic pressures on individuals and their departments. The design and limits of such systems reveal a `normative partitioning' of activities, with different moral economic criteria being applied to work inputs, to the distribution of economic rewards, and to norms of collegiality. The motivational effects of using or doing without points systems are explored in relation to different management styles. The paper concludes with comments on approaches to ethics and organizational work, arguing that Aristotelian and Smithian approaches are superior to those of Weber and Durkheim.