David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 117 (3):583-599 (2013)
This article draws on the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant to explore whether a corporate ‘duty of beneficence’ to non-shareholders is consistent with the orthodox ‘shareholder theory’ of the firm. It examines the ethical framework of Milton Friedman’s argument and asks whether it necessarily rules out the well-being of non-shareholders as a corporate objective. The article examines Kant’s distinction between ‘duties of right’ and ‘duties of virtue’ (the latter including the duty of beneficence) and investigates their consistency with the shareholder theory. The article concludes that it is possible within the ethical framework of shareholder theory for managers to pursue directly the happiness of non-shareholders. Furthermore, shareholders have a duty to hold management to account for the moral consequences of the firm’s activities on non-shareholding stakeholders
|Keywords||Deontology Duty of beneficence Friedman Kant Imperfect duties Property rights Shareholder theory Stakeholder theory Shareholder activism|
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References found in this work BETA
Robert Nozick (1974). Anarchy, State and Utopia. Basic Books.
Immanuel Kant (2007). Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell Pub. Ltd.
Immanuel Kant (1996). The Metaphysics of Morals. Cambridge University Press.
Michael C. Jensen (2002). Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function. Business Ethics Quarterly 12 (2):235-256.
R. Edward Freeman (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory. Business Ethics Quarterly 4 (4):409-421.
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