The Fallacy of Corporate Moral Agency

  • David Rönnegard

Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 44)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. The Fallacy of Corporate Moral Agency

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-4
    2. David Rönnegard
      Pages 5-8
    3. David Rönnegard
      Pages 9-15
    4. David Rönnegard
      Pages 17-29
    5. David Rönnegard
      Pages 31-49
    6. David Rönnegard
      Pages 51-55
    7. David Rönnegard
      Pages 73-90
  3. The Role of the Corporation in Society

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-102
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 209-218

About this book


It is uncontroversial that corporations are legal agents that can be held legally responsible, but can corporations also be moral agents that are morally responsible? Part one of this book explicates the most prominent theories of corporate moral agency and provides a detailed debunking of why corporate moral agency is a fallacy. This implies that talk of corporate moral responsibilities, beyond the mere metaphorical, is essentially meaningless. Part two takes the fallacy of corporate moral agency as its premise and spells out its implications. It shows how prominent normative theories within Corporate Social Responsibility, such as Stakeholder Theory and Social Contract Theory, rest on an implicit assumption of corporate moral agency. In this metaphysical respect such theories are untenable. In order to provide a more robust metaphysical foundation for corporations the book explicates the development of the corporate legal form in the US and UK, which displays how the corporation has come to have its current legal attributes. This historical evolution shows that the corporation is a legal fiction created by the state in order to serve both public and private goals. The normative implication for corporate accountability is that citizens of democratic states ought to primarily make calls for legal enactments in order to hold the corporate legal instruments accountable to their preferences.


Attribution To A Corporate Structure Attribution To A Unanimously Intending Conditions for Moral Agency Conglomerate Collectivities And Corporate Moral Agency Corporate Internal Decision Structures Corporate Moral Agency Corporate Moral Agency And Responsibility Attribution Corporate Principal And Human Agent Corporate Proper Names And Responsibility Corporate Responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility Corporations and CSR Descriptive Claims Of The Nexus-Of-Contracts Theory Division Between Public And Private Role Responsibilities Legitimate And Illegitimate Corporate Moral Libertarian Prescription For Absolute Property Limited Liability Of Shareholders Moral Agency Conditions Moral Responsibility Attribution To A Collective Whole Peter French & Corporate Moral Agency Conditions

Authors and affiliations

  • David Rönnegard
    • 1
  1. 1.INSEADStockholmSweden

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking