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The Balanced CompanyA Theory of Corporate Integrity$
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Muel Kaptein and Johan Wempe

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199255504

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199255504.001.0001

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The Corporate Condition

The Corporate Condition

Chapter:
(p.159) Chapter 4 The Corporate Condition
Source:
The Balanced Company
Author(s):

Muel Kaptein

Joha Wempe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199255504.003.0005

The difficulty in assessing corporations in moral terms is that the dominant ethical theories have been developed to evaluate human action. Since it is awkward to identify corporate actions in practice, applying these theories runs into difficulties. This is why many ethicists argue that corporations cannot be subjected to moral judgement. Chapter 3 showed that the corporation can be conceived as a moral subject. This chapter tries to determine which ethical concepts can be applied to the functioning of corporations. It describes three fundamental dilemmas based on an analysis of the corporate condition (i.e., dirty hands dilemma, many hands dilemma, and entangled hands dilemma). With a view to formulating criteria for corporations to address these dilemmas, it develops a contract theory for corporations.

Keywords:   business ethics, corporate ethics, contract theory, ethical concepts, dirty hands dilemma, many hands dilemma, entangled hands dilemma

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