Moral Capital: How Can We Define It?


In the world of business, so many things come into play for success to be achieved. Financial independence and stability; intellectual capabilities or entrepreneurial mindset; and though often overlooked, moral capital.

This phenomenon forms a large part of success achieved in business. Of course, people know about it, they apply it all the time. Although, they might not have a name for it.

In life there are what we call morals. These constitute the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’. We’re moral beings, we can say such and such a behaviour is unacceptable and vice versa. So, we shouldn’t find it difficult to define moral capital.

Morality means goodness of character. For smooth operations, business and business politics have fundamental values, principles and goals that find a resonant response in significant number of people.

Adherence to such will be judged by people as faithfulness, which will in turn grant the adherer respect and approval that is of great benefit in the business world. It is this moral investing that people covet. This is what is known as moral capital. Knowing what people appraise and align with that, this gets people coming to your business entity. It makes you likable. In a sense, it is a way of investing in upholding good morals. They form part of credibility.

Look at moral capital from political grounds for instance; according to John Kane in The Politics of Moral Capital;

“It is a resource that can be employed for legitimating some persons, positions and offices and for delegitimizing others, for mobilizing support and for disarming opposition, for creating and exploiting political opportunities that otherwise would not exist.”

As it is, moral capital entails all the virtues that people (customers in our case) prefer one entrepreneur over all others. Like it or not, in business politics customers may not at all know about the entrepreneur’s bank account, but morals are what will get them.

Moral capital makes customers come and stay with a business entity. Moral capital guards and guides business systems, processes and negotiations.

For those who ignored or continue to ignore it, moral capital has cost them fortunes. It is a “bug eat bug” world out there, and without moral capital all other forms of capital will not prevail.

Think of it this way; creed has cost many people their lives’ worth. Many businesses open now and then, soon they’re closed. Ever wondered why that is the case? Well, here’s what I think: they fail to demonstrate moral capital. They fail to put lasting impressions on customers that they are a people of integrity and can trusted.