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Hierarchies and Dignity: A Confucian Communitarian Approach

  • Jessica A. Kennedy (a1), Tae Wan Kim (a2) and Alan Strudler (a3)

Abstract:

We discuss workers’ dignity in hierarchical organizations. First, we explain why a conflict exists between high-ranking individuals’ authority and low-ranking individuals’ dignity. Then, we ask whether there is any justification that reconciles hierarchical authority with the dignity of workers. We advance a communitarian justification for hierarchical authority, drawing upon Confucianism, which provides that workers can justifiably accept hierarchical authority when it enables a certain type of social functioning critical for the good life of workers and other involved parties. The Confucian communitarian perspective shows that promoting workers’ good life or well-being is an important condition for protecting their dignity.

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