Corporate Governance as a School of Social Reform

Abstract

In this paper, I present a vision of the corporation as a moral person. I point to ‘the separation of ownership and control’ as a moment when the corporation broke away from the moral lives of owner-managers. I then draw out the manner in which we can speak of the company as a moral person. Finally, through a discussion of social reporting in two British banks, I point to a shift in how this moral personhood is articulated, with the rise of corporate governance - or doing business well - as its own foundation of corporate responsibility. I propose a view of corporate responsibility as a ‘transmission mechanism’ for the company’s role in moral life, situated in the broader social conception of ‘moral economy/’ This viewpoint sets out landscapes of legitimation and justification through which the ties that underpin economic life are founded.

Publication
Seattle University Law Review 36 (2) 2013, 973-997.