Toward an Intermediate Position on Corporate Moral Personhood

Journal of Business Ethics 101 (S1):71-81 (2011)
Abstract
Models of moral responsibility rely on foundational views about moral agency. Many scholars believe that only humans can be moral agents, and therefore business needs to create models that foster greater receptivity to others through ethical dialog. This view leads to a difficulty if no specific person is the sole causal agent for an act, or if something comes about through aggregated action in a corporate setting. An alternate approach suggests that corporations are moral agents sufficiently like humans to be treated as persons, which leads to questions of intentionality and the organizational structure required to support the claim. In this article, I make an intermediate claim combining Goodpaster and Matthews' (60:132–141, 1982 ) view that a corporation may have a moral culture which affects subjective choices, with those of Painter-Morland (17(3):515–534, 2007 ) who points out that we should move from a model that posits discrete persons acting on each other to one where morality comes about through shared experience between agents who participate in each other’s lives. I argue that the discussion has been trapped in traditional dichotomies, and is better served by language that more accurately represents the dynamic interplay between organization and individual. I underwrite this claim by looking at recent changes in British and American legal approaches to corporate responsibility. These provide greater incentives for owners and business leaders to encourage employees to discuss the reflexive nature of legal and moral responsibility in business, facilitate workers to voice their moral concerns, and create structures and processes that allow those concerns to be heard
Keywords Responsibility  Corporate personhood  Moral agency  Affine agency  Teleopathy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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: 11,817
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
Peter A. French (1979). The Corporation as a Moral Person. American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (3):207 - 215.
Peter A. French (1985). The Hester Prynne Sanction. Business and Professional Ethics Journal 4 (2):19-32.

View all 16 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Jeffery Smith (2011). A Political Account of Corporate Moral Responsibility. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (2):223 - 246.
C. Soares (2003). Corporate Versus Individual Moral Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 46 (2):143 - 150.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-01-12

Total downloads

12 ( #133,445 of 1,099,912 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #90,387 of 1,099,912 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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