Stakeholder Duties: On the Moral Responsibility of Corporate Investors
Stakeholder theory usually focuses on the moral responsibility of corporations towards their stakeholders. This article takes the reverse perspective to shed light on the moral responsibility of stakeholders—specifically, investors or ‘financiers’. It explicates a distinction between two types of financiers, creditors and shareholders. Many intuitively judge that shareholders have greater or more extensive moral responsibility for the actions of the corporations they invest in than do bondholders and other creditors. Examining the merits of possible arguments for or against treating owners and creditors differently elucidates which arguments can support the moral duties of investors generally, and different duties for different groups of investors specifically. The paper considers three possible lines of arguments, rooting investors’ responsibility, respectively, in how they enable corporate conduct, how they benefit from it, and to what extent they are complicit in it. The paper argues that a notion of complicity is the only tenable ground for holding investors liable; sketches an account of complicity based on the recent philosophical literature on collective intention and collective action; and concludes that shareholders but not creditors can generally be seen as complicit on this account. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jos Leys & Wim Vandekerckhove & Luc Liedekerke, 2009. "A Puzzle in SRI: The Investor and the Judge," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 221-235, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:1:p:97-107. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.