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

Journal of Business Ethics 76 (1):83 - 95 (2007)
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/25075496
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,831
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Gilbert Harman (2003). No Character or Personality. Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):87-94.
C. Soares (2003). Corporate Versus Individual Moral Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 46 (2):143 - 150.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Davide Secchi (2009). The Cognitive Side of Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 88 (3):565 - 581.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Dan Freeman (2008). Beyond Moral Reasoning. Business Ethics Quarterly 18 (4):513-540.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #134,685 of 1,724,748 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #110,389 of 1,724,748 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.