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What is a colleague? The descriptive and normative dimension of a dual character concept


Reuter, Kevin; Löschke, Jörg; Betzler, Monika (2020). What is a colleague? The descriptive and normative dimension of a dual character concept. Philosophical Psychology, 33(7):997-1017.

Abstract

Colleagues are not only an integral part of many people’s lives; empirical research suggests that having a good relationship with one’s colleagues is the single most important factor for being happy at work. However, so far, no one has provided a comprehensive account of what it means to be a colleague. To address this lacuna, we have conducted both an empirical as well as theoretical investigation into the content and structure of the concept ‘colleague.’ Based on the empirical evidence that we present in this paper, we argue that ‘colleague’ is a dual character concept that has both a descriptive and a normative basis for categorization. Its descriptive dimension is characterized by three features, according to which two people are colleagues if they work for the same institution and know each other, or if they work for the same institution and work in the same field. An independent normative dimension is revealed, which shows that, as colleagues, we are expected to fulfill substantial normative expectations. Understanding the expectations that are encoded in the very structure of this concept is crucial to lay the groundwork for an ethics of collegiality.

Abstract

Colleagues are not only an integral part of many people’s lives; empirical research suggests that having a good relationship with one’s colleagues is the single most important factor for being happy at work. However, so far, no one has provided a comprehensive account of what it means to be a colleague. To address this lacuna, we have conducted both an empirical as well as theoretical investigation into the content and structure of the concept ‘colleague.’ Based on the empirical evidence that we present in this paper, we argue that ‘colleague’ is a dual character concept that has both a descriptive and a normative basis for categorization. Its descriptive dimension is characterized by three features, according to which two people are colleagues if they work for the same institution and know each other, or if they work for the same institution and work in the same field. An independent normative dimension is revealed, which shows that, as colleagues, we are expected to fulfill substantial normative expectations. Understanding the expectations that are encoded in the very structure of this concept is crucial to lay the groundwork for an ethics of collegiality.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Applied Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Philosophy, Applied Psychology
Language:English
Date:2 October 2020
Deposited On:29 Sep 2021 13:31
Last Modified:30 Sep 2021 20:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0951-5089
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2020.1817885
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPCEFP1_181082
  • : Project TitleDual-Character Concepts: Bridging the Descriptive and the Normative

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