Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 10, Issue 10, pp 749–756 | Cite as

The moral status of the corporation

  • R. E. Ewin


Corporations are moral persons to the extent that they have rights and duties, but their moral personality is severely limited. As artificial persons, they lack the emotional make-up that allows natural persons to show virtues and vices. That fact, taken with the representative function of management, places significant limitations on what constitutes ethical behavior by management. A common misunderstanding of those limitations can lead ethical managers to behave unethically and can lead the public to have improper expectations of corporations.


Economic Growth Significant Limitation Ethical Behavior Moral Status Natural Person 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bruck, C.: 1988,The Predators' Ball (The American Lawyer and Simon and Schuster, New York).Google Scholar
  2. Ewin, R. E.: 1981,Co-operation and Human Values (Harvester, and New York: St Martin's, Brighton).Google Scholar
  3. Ewin, R. E.: 1987,Liberty, Community, and Justice (Rowman and Littlefield, Totowa).Google Scholar
  4. Ford, H. A. J.: 1986,Principles of Company Law (Butterworths, Sydney).Google Scholar
  5. French, P. A.: 1979, ‘The Corporation as a Moral Person’,American Philosophical Quarterly, July.Google Scholar
  6. French, P. A.: 1984,Collective and Corporate Responsibility (Columbia University Press, New York).Google Scholar
  7. Griffith, A. P.: 1960, ‘Representation’,Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume.Google Scholar
  8. Hobbes, T.: 1968,Leviathan, C. B. Macpherson, Ed. (Pelican, Harmondsworth).Google Scholar
  9. Love, J. F.: 1986,McDonald's: Behind the Arches (Bantam Books, London).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. Ewin
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia

Personalised recommendations