Aristotle and Modern Work Relationships

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 9
Words: 2202
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College


In the contemporary world, every person does something to obtain some fruitful outcome. According to Aristotle, the best outcome of any human activity is happiness. Therefore, in the process of working, people ought to employ ethical practices that generate happiness for all the stakeholders involved. Aristotle’s ethical ideas recommend people to have a civic relationship, where people learn to be great listeners, affluent talkers, and sensible workers who strive to achieve a common good.

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Essentially, the civic relationship that builds among workers generates power that reflects ethical values. Civic relationships have an intrinsic reward to all individuals involved, as they formulate strong communities. Aristotle describes the development of a civic relationship as the best way of living. In the current world, people describe what is good for them using different attributes, especially at the workplace. In this view, this paper will focus on Aristotle’s ideas on civic relationships and compare them to the findings of The Best Places to Work Institute.

Aristotle’s ideas on the civic relationship

According to Aristotle, the greatest outcome of an activity is happiness. In the struggle to achieve happiness, people end up developing virtues. Since people perform actions on daily basis, they tend to develop the deliberation to do good to their mates. In the process, justice dominates as the greatest attainment of the actions in friendship. Therefore, the essay examines Aristotle’s ideas on happiness, development of virtues, deliberation, the depiction of justice, and friendship in a civic relationship are as described below.

Aristotle’s theory of happiness

Whenever people attain their goals, they become happy. Happiness carries weight, as it is the highest goal that one can attain at a specific moment. According to Aristotle, people have different notions about happiness because some people misinterpret happiness with physical pleasures and honor. Viewing happiness from the material is having an imperfect view of life. According to Aristotle, as people aim at attaining happiness in their daily lives, they should not make it their obligation to attain happiness for they may end up frustrated. People should always strive to attain their best since they do not have the same capacities to make the same achievements. Essentially, people should have contentment in what they do to achieve happiness.

Wealth and pleasure bring some sense of happiness to some individuals, but they do not define real happiness. Real happiness is attained if the actions that lead to it are virtuous and display some morality. Further, for people to attain happiness, all the individuals around them must feel some sense of completeness and importance. When people selfishly seek pleasure, they do not attain happiness because no one accords them respect.

According to Aristotle, people achieve happiness when they adhere to certain virtues. Virtuous people behave and reason rightfully and thus derive pleasure from their reasonable behaviors. In a workplace, for example, people with reasonable behaviors will always attain some happiness from the respect accorded to them. Workers tend to confide in virtuous workmates, while some will even crown virtuous workmates as their role models.

Aristotle’s theory of virtues

When people aim at generating happiness, they employ the appropriate virtues that would help them accomplish their specific goals. According to Aristotle, a virtue is a character that builds in people, which is a consequence of their good deeds. Virtues are instilled in individuals from their childhood. As individuals grow, they learn to employ their virtues on different occasions. For instance, courageous people will perceive their bravery as a good thing, and they will always display their bravery in difficult situations.

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Happiness develops in courageous individuals who attain something that timid individuals could not attain. Courageous employees would find happiness upon interacting with the executives of the company to attain their needs. On the other hand, cowards will find happiness by successfully escaping from danger. From this perspective, Aristotle signifies that happiness means different things to different people because people have different views of a good life.

As aforementioned, people acquire virtue through the continuous practice of learning from childhood. Aristotle notes that virtue cannot be taught in a class, as it is somewhat a voluntary action. A virtuous person will voluntarily respond to a stimulus without the influence of an outside force. In the workplace, virtuous employees work under minimum supervision because they do not need a supervisor to push them. Virtuous employees respect one another since they do what is right in the presence or absence of their overseers. Aristotle gives an overview of the following virtues.

  1. Courage imposes confidence in individuals whenever they face difficult situations.
  2. Temperance is a virtue that gives individuals some sense of self-control. Temperance gives individuals the ability to restrain from the pleasures of the material senses.
  3. Liberality enables people to be open-handed. Liberal individuals can give away their wealth and money to appropriate people to enhance their happiness.
  4. Magnanimity enhances the generosity of spirit among individuals. People can act towards one another in a generous and honorable manner.
  5. Patience enables people to endure or deal with anger. Patience is a very important virtue in any workplace as it enables workers to have some form of tolerance.
  6. Sincerity is a virtue that obliges individuals to portray honesty in all that they do. Sincerity goes hand in hand with amiability and wit, which enhances the interaction and cordiality among individuals in the workplace.
  7. Modesty brings in the humility of people in the workplace as arrogant individuals are forced to restrain their ill habits. Individuals who possess modesty virtue have a natural sense of admiration.

Aristotle’s theory of deliberation

Inbuilt virtues give individuals some form of rational deliberation. The individuals have the freedom to choose the action to do as long as they achieve the desired results. Aristotle points out that individual voluntary action is either right or wrong. The deliberation aspect enhances the possession of intellectual virtues. A reasonable person will have an obligation to behave rightfully and develop intellectual virtues.

Deliberation enables people to develop some knowledge, instinct, and the wisdom to consider their actions carefully. According to Aristotle, the intellectual virtues obtained through deliberation bring in some meditative reasoning, where an individual can reason carefully without necessarily considering human affairs. Moreover, deliberation is related to the attainment of technical skills. The technical skills will enable one to rationalize issues and come up with a solution that has ethical value in it. In a work environment, deliberated individuals will always get solutions in any difficult situation in the best way possible that does not harm anyone. Moreover, deliberated individuals will portray prudence that employs ethical reasoning of the highest order in every action.

Aristotle’s theory of justice

Justice is depicted when virtues are employed in an activity. Justice seeks to give every individual an equal chance to access everything. According to Aristotle, distributive justice would be apparent if wealth is distributed equally, and if everyone receives honor on merit. It is noteworthy that people cannot impose unjust actions upon themselves, therefore, for justice to occur; at least two individuals must be involved.

One person has the obligation of imposing justice on the other. In case two individuals dispute in the workplace, for example, a third party must intervene and impose a just judgment. Justice prevails in the law courts, where the judge acts as the non-partisan mediator who imposes a fair judgment on the accused and the accuser. Thus, employers must portray justice among their employees in the same manner.

Aristotle’s theory of friendship

People enjoy being with their friends while seeking for happiness. Individuals can find a friend in somebody else based on his or her articulate characters that they admire. This is the best form of friendship, as those friends love one another to make the best, and not getting the best out of the friendship. In the workplace, workers can learn to nurture friendships and work towards strengthening their relationships for the benefit of the company.

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Aristotle highlights that in most cases, friendship occurs between people who are of the same age. However, a parent-child relationship would form a very strong friendship based on equal exchanges. On the other hand, there are those people who seek friendship because they aim at obtaining something or seeking pleasure.

According to Aristotle, friendship based on utility or pleasure is not long-lasting. An employee who aims at obtaining some utility from a company will eventually steal from the company. Such an employee aims at reaping maximum benefits from the company, regardless of whether the company will survive or not. Aristotle further describes the friendship between politicians and citizens. Major political institutions will rely on the level of alliance among the citizens of a particular region. An allied community has some form of friendship for the community members would join hands to vote for a particular political candidate. As long as democracy prevails, friendship and justice will have a close connection, since their union will determine the choice of political leaders.

According to Aristotle, people have to learn to love themselves first before they can reflect their feelings of friendship towards others. To attain and keep friends, people should know how to handle friends with utmost care and respect. As long as the right virtues are employed in every action, friendship would develop and happiness would triumph. A work environment characterized by friendship and happiness is self-sufficient, as employees would find pleasure in performing their roles.

Traits of the “best places to work”

The Best Places to Work Institute has great admiration because employees and other organizations envy their traits. One of the greatest things that the institute advocates for in a workplace are trusted amongst employees. Regardless of the culture or the size of a company, trust is what leads to the difference in the operations amongst companies. If the company’s executives work closely with the employees to raise the level of trust in the workplace, there will be a positive outcome of improved performance of the company. The co-operation amongst staff, innovation, and the invention of ideas are dependent on the trust enforced on individual employees.

The Best Places to Work Institute does not focus on the employees’ benefits, but it rather focuses on the relationships at the workplace. Employees who regard their companies as the best places to work are proud of their companies. They possess all the traits of comradeship that drive them towards giving their best to their companies. Essentially, the institute emphasizes that The Best Places to Work Institute is one that has employees with high-quality relationships. The Best Places to Work Institute employs a model that revolves around trust. The model describes different variables and stakeholders who ought to abide by the variables.

  1. The management team aims at achieving the objectives of the organization. Therefore, they ought to inspire, speak to their employees, and listen to their pleas.
  2. The employees struggle to deliver their best to the company. Hence, they appreciate the organization, care for it, and employ their efforts to develop the organization.
  3. The outcome of the strengthened relationship between the employees and the management team is an organization that will hire other employees, share their experiences, and celebrates their achievements.

The institute encourages companies to be positive about change. In case of gaps that need some amendments, employers should aspire to do away with the wrong practices and adopt new ones instead of fixing the gaps. The institute insists on the transformation of culture to create a work environment that will change the entire work experience of employees.

Comparison of Aristotle’s ideas and the traits of the ‘best places to work’

Aristotle’s ideas of a favorable work environment are somewhat similar to those of The Best Places to Work Institute. In both cases, there is the virtue of trust and respect amongst the employees. Essentially, employees ought to have respectful relationships that will lead people into actions that generate overall happiness. The Best Places to Work Institute insists on trust, however, trust amongst the employees cannot occur unless there is some form of friendship, which is Aristotle’s idea. The managers have to develop righteous ways of handling matters within the organization to portray justice. They have to build a team of employees who value virtues.

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All the virtues of courage, modesty, temperance, sincerity, and patience must be present in a great work environment. The strategy of deliberation is the only difference between Aristotle’s ideas and the traits at the best workplaces. While Aristotle insists that employees need some form of rational deliberation, The Best Places to Work Institute insists that every stakeholder in a company has a specific role to play, and no one is at liberty to choose what to do. The managers have their defined roles, whereas, the employees are obliged to deliver their best in the workplace.


From the discussions, it is evident that Aristotle’s ideas and concepts still prevail in the contemporary world. The respectful relationships, the virtues, and the justice systems still define a good working environment as they help organizations to attain common happiness for all employees. Therefore, all companies that aim at developing a great workplace can refer to Aristotle’s ideas of the development of a civic relationship amongst employees and consider the traits of The Best Places to Work Institute.