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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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c_ch 6 thru end_t5 10/12/2012 9:02 AM Page 245 Apprenticeship, 49, 201 Anger, 67, 68 Architectonic occupation(s), 8, 9, 55, 57, 90, 137 See also Craftwork; Profession; Professions Arête, 13, 24 Argument(s), 85, 88, 98, 102, 144 assertive, 88 Argument culture, 85, 200 of academia, 200 Argumentativeness, 16, 85, 95 Aristotle. See Virtue ethics Aristotelian ethics, 24, 25, 26, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 75, 90 See also Virtue ethics Arrogance, 73, 148, 200 Art, 50, 138 vs. craft, 137 and public poetry, 185 vs. science, 137 Assertiveness, 85 as element of civility, 74 Attentiveness, 108 to corporate social responsibility, 202 to face needs of coworkers, 109 to goals of self and others, 109 to goods, 97, 162 lack of, as incivility, 71 to limits, 96 to local norms/to the local and particular, 28, 157 to mission, 163 to the other/others, 75, 77, 99, 193 to the “positive face” of an organization, 106 thoughtful, 2 Attribution(s), 128 charitable. See Charitable attributions Attribution biases, 121 Authentic self, 11 Author manager, 148 Authority, 38, 67, 73, 144 attributes of speech lacking, 171 community, 47 in craftwork framework of defensiveness/supportiveness, rather than control, 145 evaluative, 37 of the expert, 145 of moral frameworks, 144 of practice, 144 pseudo-, 145 role-based, 123 over social functions, of professionals, 198 of a tradition, 11 Autonomy as characteristic of professions/professionals, 4, 5, 18, 49, 56, 60 as element of concern in politeness, 76, 79, 80, 84, 107,...

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