Corporate Identity, Responsibility and the Ethics of Complexity

  • Minka Woermann
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 26)


This chapter presents an analysis of corporate identity and responsibility. More specifically, it addresses the question of what the emergence of corporate identity can tell us about the nature of business ethics in practice. In the first section, the main insights gleaned from a complex understanding of identity are unpacked. In the second section, these complexity insights pertaining to identity formation are translated into the language of social systems, with the aim of determining the nature of corporate identity specifically. In the third section, the implications that this complexity understanding of corporate identity formation hold for business ethics are elaborated upon. The analysis in the third section provides both a challenge to the traditional understanding of moral responsibility within the context of business ethics, and an attempt to overcome the weaknesses of this traditional understanding. This latter aim is addressed by taking cognisance of the normative implications associated with a process of identity formation in work practices. Of particular concern and interest is how identities are demarcated in practice. As such, the analysis centres on the boundary questions that we ask (or don’t ask of ourselves) as corporate members and corporation; as well as the implications that such questions hold for how we view ourselves and our ethical responsibilities within the context of corporate practices.


Business Ethic Moral Responsibility Identity Formation Work Practice Corporate Responsibility 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of StellenboschStellenboschSouth Africa

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