Corporate Governance as a School of Social Reform

corporate governance
Seattle University Law Review 36 (2), 973-997

Ciarán O’Kelly


June 14, 2013

The paper is available here

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.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {O’Kelly, Ciarán},
  title = {Corporate {Governance} as a {School} of {Social} {Reform}},
  journal = {Seattle University Law Review},
  volume = {36},
  number = {2},
  pages = {973-997},
  date = {2013-06-14},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
O’Kelly, Ciarán. 2013. “Corporate Governance as a School of Social Reform.” Seattle University Law Review 36 (2): 973–97.