Business Ethics Quarterly 19 (4):497-528 (2009)

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Abstract
The use of agency theory remains highly controversial among business ethicists. While some regard it as an essential tool for analyzing and understanding the recent spate of corporate ethics scandals, others argue that these scandals might not even have occurred had it not been for the widespread teaching of agency theory in business schools. This paper presents a qualified defense of agency theory against these charges, first by identifying the theoretical commitments that are essential to the theory (in order to distinguish between agency theory itself and certain incorrect interpretations that have been widely promulgated), and second, by specifying more clearly the different ways that agency theory can be used to analyze relations within the firm. The recommendation that follows from this analysis is that agency theory be used as a critical-diagnostic tool, to identify the points at which both firms and markets will be vulnerable to breakdown in the absence of moral constraint
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq200919430
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References found in this work BETA

Morals by Agreement.David Gauthier - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Virtue of Governance, the Governance of Virtue.Geoff Moore - 2012 - Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (2):293-318.
Whither Stakeholder Theory? A Guide for the Perplexed Revisited.John Hasnas - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 112 (1):47-57.

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