Weeding Out Flawed Versions of Shareholder Primacy: A Reflection on the Moral Obligations That Carry Over from Principals to Agents

Business Ethics Quarterly 29 (4):519-544 (2019)

Abstract

ABSTRACT:The distinction between what I call nonelective obligations and discretionary obligations, a distinction that focuses on one particular thread of the distinction between perfect and imperfect duties, helps us to identify the obligations that carry over from principals to agents. Clarity on this issue is necessary to identify the moral obligations within “shareholder primacy”, which conceives of managers as agents of shareholders. My main claim is that the principal-agent relation requires agents to fulfill nonelective obligations, but it does not always require discharging discretionary obligations. I show that the requirement to fulfill nonelective obligations is more far-reaching than has been acknowledged by most defenders and critics of shareholder primacy. But I also show that managers are not bound by certain discretionary obligations like charity, showing that their moral obligations are more circumscribed than the obligations that apply to human beings in general.

Download options

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-08-28

Downloads
61 (#190,996)

6 months
41 (#20,882)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Santiago Mejia
Fordham University

References found in this work

Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
Capitalism and Freedom.Milton Friedman - 1962 - Ethics 74 (1):70-72.
Business Ethics and Stakeholder Analysis.Kenneth E. Goodpaster - 1991 - Business Ethics Quarterly 1 (1):53-73.

View all 63 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Socratic Ignorance and Business Ethics.Santiago Mejia - 2022 - Journal of Business Ethics 175 (3):537-553.
The Moral Imperatives of Humanistic Management.Santiago Mejia - 2019 - Humanistic Management Journal 4 (2):155-158.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Charity.Michael Hartsock & Eric Roark - 2015 - Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):237-245.
What We Together Can (Be Required to) Do.Felix Pinkert - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):187-202.
From Global Collective Obligations to Institutional Obligations.Bill Wringe - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):171-186.
On Individual and Shared Obligations: In Defense of the Activist’s Perspective.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Mark Budolfson, Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press.
Just Say ‘No’: Obligations to Voice Disagreement.Casey Rebecca Johnson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 84:117-138.
Obligations to Artworks as Duties of Love.Anthony Cross - 2017 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 54 (1):85-101.
Essentially Shared Obligations.Gunnar Björnsson - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):103-120.