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


DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1032-5

Cite this article as:
Hasnas, J. J Bus Ethics (2012) 107: 183. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-1032-5


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 responsibilityCollective punishmentShared intentionCollective responsibility

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McDonough School of BusinessGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA