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Corporate Virtue and the Joint-Stock Company

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Abstract

This article traces the historical evolution of the notion of the “virtuous corporation,” from its origins as a public-spirited fellowship to the modern joint-stock company kept in check by the market for corporate control. We suggest that this change in the legal personality of the firm has resulted in a minimalist and extrinsic view of corporate virtue. A more intrinsic and intentional virtue can come from within the enterprise. Employing the language of principal-agent analysis, we argue that “agents” who reflect theologically on the corporation can help create a renewed vision of the virtuous enterprise.

Kim Hawtrey and Stuart Dullard, "Corporate Virtue and the Joint-Stock Company," Journal of Markets & Morality 12, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 19-33


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