Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 107, Issue 2, pp 183-195

Reflections on Corporate Moral Responsibility and the Problem Solving Technique of Alexander the Great

  • John HasnasAffiliated withMcDonough School of Business, Georgetown University Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The academic debate over the propriety of attributing moral responsibility to corporations is decades old and ongoing. The conventional approach to this debate is to identify the sufficient conditions for moral agency and then attempt to determine whether corporations possess them. This article recommends abandoning the conventional approach in favor of an examination of the practical consequences of corporate moral responsibility. The article’s thesis is that such an examination reveals that attributing moral responsibility to corporations is ethically acceptable only if it does not authorize the punishment of corporations as collective entities, and further, that this renders the debate over corporate moral responsibility virtually pointless.


Corporate moral responsibility Collective punishment Shared intention Collective responsibility