Unredistributable corporate moral responsibility

Journal of Business Ethics 8 (7):535 - 545 (1989)
Certain cases of corporate action seem especially resistant to a shared moral evaluation. Conservatives may argue that if bad intentions cannot be demonstrated, corporations and their managers are not blame-worthy, while liberals may insist that the results of corporate actions were predictable and so somebody must be to blame. Against this background, the theory that sometimes a corporation's moral responsibility cannot be redistributed, even in principle, to the individuals involved, seems quite attractive.This doctrine of unredistributable corporate moral responsibility (UCMR) is, however, ultimately indefensible. I show this in several steps. After first locating UCMR in the context of the evolving debate about corporate moral agency, the paper reexamines cases cited in defense of UCMR and takes up the attempt to defend it by identifying corporate moral agency with corporate practices. A further section explores the claim that UCMR is a convention distinct from, yet compatible with, traditional natural notions of responsibility. The final section develops a notion of combined akratic agency to provide an alternate explanation, compatible with rejection of UCMR, of the phenomena which make the doctrine attractive.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00382929
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Donaldson (1982). Corporations and Morality. Journal of Business Ethics 1 (3):251-253.
Patricia Werhane (1988). Persons, Rights, and Corporations. Journal of Business Ethics 7 (5):336-340.
Jan Edward Garrett (1988). Persons, Kinds, and Corporations: An Aristotelian View. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):261-281.

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Citations of this work BETA
Jane Collier (1995). The Virtuous Organization. Business Ethics 4 (3):143–149.
Jane Collier (1995). The Virtuous Organization. Business Ethics: A European Review 4 (3):143-149.
E. Tsahuridu Eva (2006). Anomie and Ethics at Work. Journal of Business Ethics 69 (2):163-174.

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