Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 4, pp 917–927 | Cite as

Kantian Group Agency

  • Amy L. MacArthurEmail author
Original Paper


Although much work has been done on Kant’s theory of moral agency, little explored is the possibility of a Kantian account of the moral agency of groups or collectives that comprise individual human beings. The aim of this paper is to offer a Kantian account of collective moral agency that can explain how organized collectives can perform moral (or immoral) actions and be held morally responsible for their actions. Drawing on Kant’s view that agents act by incorporating an incentive into their maxims, it is argued that groups of agents can engage in practical deliberation in much the same way individual agents can, resulting in the formulation of a distinctive “group maxim” for which the group, as such, can be morally responsible.


Collective agency Corporate agency Group agency Group deliberation Group maxim Kant Kantian business ethics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to report.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religion and PhilosophyHigh Point UniversityHigh PointUSA
  2. 2.High PointUSA

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