Work, moral responsibility, and autonomy Are employees morally responsible for the decisions made by companies employing them, such as what to produce, under what conditions and for whom? The organogram of most companies, the distribution of roles, powers and responsibilities within companies, denies employees the autonomy necessary to participate in this process of decision making. On this ground, it seems that employees should not be held morally responsible. Nevertheless, as Axel Honneth shows, questions of work normativity are best settled by reference to actual social conflicts taking place within the world of work. Indeed, it is highly relevant that there are today workers struggling for moral responsibility, and implicitly for the kind of autonomy necessary to exercise it. Taking cue from such struggles, I show that employees are not that willing to disburden themselves of moral responsibility, and that their reasons cannot be easily dismissed. I articulate an argument for worker’s moral responsibility, and implicitly for workplace autonomy, along the following lines. Firstly, I argue that in principle working implies responsibility for the finality of one’s own work. Secondly, I argue that the condition of employees in companies cannot and does not deny this principle. Lacking the autonomy for realizing one’s moral responsibility as a worker is best interpreted as a situation in which a partial exception from the principle seems to be justified. The proposed interpretation of the workers’ condition can be recovered at least from the type of arguments put forward within the companies through which the state of exception is defended. I identify three such types of arguments: a. The argument by appeal to expertise (that most employees lack the expertise required to make decisions orienting the company); b. The argument by appeal to technical necessities (that given the organisational complexity of companies it is more efficient to divide tasks, including moral responsibility, among different types of agents); c. The argument by appeal to status (that making this kind of decision is the privilege of a few). None of the three types of arguments, I conclude, provides decisive reasons for justifying the situation of exception. If this is the case, then it is not self-evident that worker’s struggles for moral responsibility are unjustified.

Work, moral responsibility, and autonomy / A.F. Deaconu. ((Intervento presentato al 3. convegno Colloque annuel étudiant du CRÉ : Qui en est responsable ?  tenutosi a Montreal nel 2021.

Work, moral responsibility, and autonomy

A.F. Deaconu
Primo
2021

Abstract

Work, moral responsibility, and autonomy Are employees morally responsible for the decisions made by companies employing them, such as what to produce, under what conditions and for whom? The organogram of most companies, the distribution of roles, powers and responsibilities within companies, denies employees the autonomy necessary to participate in this process of decision making. On this ground, it seems that employees should not be held morally responsible. Nevertheless, as Axel Honneth shows, questions of work normativity are best settled by reference to actual social conflicts taking place within the world of work. Indeed, it is highly relevant that there are today workers struggling for moral responsibility, and implicitly for the kind of autonomy necessary to exercise it. Taking cue from such struggles, I show that employees are not that willing to disburden themselves of moral responsibility, and that their reasons cannot be easily dismissed. I articulate an argument for worker’s moral responsibility, and implicitly for workplace autonomy, along the following lines. Firstly, I argue that in principle working implies responsibility for the finality of one’s own work. Secondly, I argue that the condition of employees in companies cannot and does not deny this principle. Lacking the autonomy for realizing one’s moral responsibility as a worker is best interpreted as a situation in which a partial exception from the principle seems to be justified. The proposed interpretation of the workers’ condition can be recovered at least from the type of arguments put forward within the companies through which the state of exception is defended. I identify three such types of arguments: a. The argument by appeal to expertise (that most employees lack the expertise required to make decisions orienting the company); b. The argument by appeal to technical necessities (that given the organisational complexity of companies it is more efficient to divide tasks, including moral responsibility, among different types of agents); c. The argument by appeal to status (that making this kind of decision is the privilege of a few). None of the three types of arguments, I conclude, provides decisive reasons for justifying the situation of exception. If this is the case, then it is not self-evident that worker’s struggles for moral responsibility are unjustified.
work; moral responsibility; workplace autonomy
Settore M-FIL/03 - Filosofia Morale
Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ)
http://www.lecre.umontreal.ca/évènement/qui-en-est-responsable-whos-responsible-for-this/
Work, moral responsibility, and autonomy / A.F. Deaconu. ((Intervento presentato al 3. convegno Colloque annuel étudiant du CRÉ : Qui en est responsable ?  tenutosi a Montreal nel 2021.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/843586
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