For or against corporate identity? Personification and the problem of moral agency

Journal of Business Ethics 76 (1):83 - 95 (2007)
Abstract
This article explores the concept of corporate identity from a moral perspective. In it we argue that the reification and personification involved in attributing an identity to an organization has moral repercussions. Through a discussion of 'intentionality' we suggest that it is philosophically problematic to treat an abstraction of the corporation as possessing identity or acting as a conscious moral agent. The article moves to consider practical and ethical issues in the areas of organizational commitment, of health and safety, and corporate social responsibility, and finds that the notion of identity can be abused, although it will no doubt continue to be used as it does have some practical utility. In conclusion, we argue that despite being meaningless from a philosophical stance, the concept of corporate identity need not be discarded, however, it is far from benign and intense moral scrutiny is necessary wherever it is applied
Keywords corporate identity  intentionality  moral agency  reification  social responsibility
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Citations of this work BETA
Davide Secchi (2009). The Cognitive Side of Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 88 (3):565 - 581.
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Dan Freeman (2008). Beyond Moral Reasoning. Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (4):513-540.
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