Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 101, Supplement 1, pp 83–95 | Cite as

Rethinking Responsible Agency in Corporations: Perspectives from Deleuze and Guattari

  • Mollie Painter-MorlandEmail author


The notion of “responsibility” can be understood in a number of different ways, namely as being accountable for one’s actions, as a personal trait, or as a task or duty that results from one’s role. In this article we will challenge the assumptions that underpin each of these employments of the word “responsibility” and seek to redefine the concept as such. The main thrust of the argument is that we need to critically interrogate the idea of “identity” and deliberate decision-making that inform the use of all three of these notions of “responsibility”. By drawing on selected concepts emanating from the oeuvre of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, our understanding of agency moves away from “identity” towards “multiplicity”. In fact, it will be argued that our sense of “agency” is a side-product of our own desiring-production as it operates in and through our interactions with other human beings and organizational structures. The article therefore contends that “responsible management” requires ongoing re-articulations of moral responsiveness.


Agency Responsibility Deleuze and Guattari 



I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, as well as the editors of this Special issue, for their generous comments and suggestions, which allowed a much clearer argument to emerge. I would also like to thank Rene ten Bos for encouraging me to be brave enough to draw on Deleuze and Guattari’s oeuvre in my business ethics research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDe Paul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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