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Professional Civility

Communicative Virtue at Work

Janie M. Harden Fritz

Winner of the Everett Lee Hunt Award 2014.
Winner of the NCA Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award 2013 from the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research

The crisis of incivility plaguing today’s workplace calls for an approach to communication that restores respect and integrity to interpersonal encounters in organizational life. Professional civility is a communicative virtue that protects and promotes productivity, one’s place of employment, and persons with whom we carry out our tasks in the workplace. Drawn from the history of professions as dignified occupations providing valuable contributions to the human community, an understanding of civility as communicative virtue, and MacIntyre’s treatment of practices, professional civility supports the «practice» of professions in contemporary organizations. A communicative ethic of professional civility requires attentiveness to the task at hand, support of an organization’s mission, and appropriate relationships with others in the workplace. Professional civility fosters communicative habits of the heart that extend beyond the walls of the workplace, encouraging a return to the service ethic that remains an enduring legacy of the professions in the United States.


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ab_preface acknowledg_t5 10/12/2012 9:03 AM Page xiii Duquesne University is a wonderful academic home. Chancellor John Murray and President Charles Dougherty have provided years of outstanding leadership for this place. I honor in this work the memory of Michael P. Weber, who believed in me when the evidence was yet to emerge. He understood the difference between imagination and fantasy. James Swindal, dean of the M cAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, provides a model of scholarly leadership and pro- ductivity, as did his predecessors Christopher Duncan and Francesco Cesareo. My colleagues in the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies bring joy to the work; I will always be grateful to them, especially to Ronald C. Arnett, who taught me to love the work, care for institutions, and support people—Ron, you make places and persons flourish through productivity. I offer this book to the Spiritans, the priests and brothers of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, who remind us that there is always a heart propelling the best practices. —JANIE HARDEN FRITZ, PHD xiv | Acknowledgments ab_preface acknowledg_t5 10/12/2012 9:03 AM Page xiv

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