Which Duties of Beneficence Should Agents Discharge on Behalf of Principals? A Reflection through Shareholder Primacy

Business Ethics Quarterly 31 (3):421-449 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Scholars who favor shareholder primacy usually claim either that managers should not fulfill corporate duties of beneficence or that, if they are required to fulfill them, they do so by going against their obligations to shareholders. Distinguishing between structurally different types of duties of beneficence and recognizing the full force of the normative demands imposed on managers reveal that this view needs to be qualified. Although it is correct to think that managers, when acting on behalf of shareholders, are not required to fulfill wide duties of charity, they are nevertheless required to fulfill a variety of narrow duties of beneficence. What is more, the obligation to fulfill these duties arises precisely because they are acting on behalf of shareholders. As such, this article 1) refines our understanding of the duties of corporate beneficence and 2) helps to identify which duties of beneficence are imposed on managers when they are acting on behalf of shareholders.

Similar books and articles

Shareholder Theory and Kant’s ‘Duty of Beneficence’.Samuel Mansell - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 117 (3):583-599.
Imperfect Duties, Group Obligations, and Beneficence.S. Andrew Schroeder - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (5):557-584.
Beneficence, Justice, and Health Care.J. Paul Kelleher - 2014 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24 (1):27-49.
A Fiduciary Argument Against Stakeholder Theory.Alexei M. Marcoux - 2003 - Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):1-24.
Shareholder Theory in Academia.Stephen Kershnar - 2017 - Business and Professional Ethics Journal 36 (3):359-382.


Added to PP

364 (#47,923)

6 months
135 (#19,664)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Santiago Mejia
Fordham University

Citations of this work

Business Ethics.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Peculiar Nature of the Duty to Help During a Pandemic.Santiago Mejia - 2021 - Business Ethics Journal Review 9 (2):8-13.
Business ethics.Alexei Marcoux - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Corporate Counterspeech.Aaron Ancell - 2023 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 26 (4):611-625.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Famine, Affluence, and Morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Oxford University Press USA.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.
Famine, affluence, and morality.Peter Singer - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (3):229-243.
Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.

View all 56 references / Add more references