Corporate responsibility and political philosophy: Exploring the social liberal corporation

Research output: Book/Report/PhD thesisBookResearchpeer-review


This book argues for the inclusion of the corporation as an integral element of political philosophy. It begins with a historical evaluation of the corporation as a constituent of political society. It shows how Adam Smith, Hegel, and Marx conceived the role of the corporation in relation to the state, the market and civil society, before moving on to the rejection of the corporation as a genuine moral and political agent by Rawls and Habermas. The next chapter of the book presents the corporation as a collective that possesses political and moral agency. The author outlines four distinct political philosophies of corporate responsibility: the Aristotelian conservative-virtue ethical conception; the market liberal theory; the social liberal theory of corporate citizenship and political CSR; and Marxist-inspired critical theories. It is argued that the social liberal theory provides a better justification compared to its rivals. The third and final group of chapters applies the social liberal conception – called the social liberal corporation – to important contemporary issues, including human rights in global supply chains, financial and digital firms, sustainability and climate change. Corporate Responsibility and Political Philosophy will appeal to political philosophers, political theorists, and applied ethicists, as well as scholars in other disciplines working on issues related to business ethics, organizational ethics, sustainability and corporate social responsibility. As it provides a comprehensive introduction to corporate responsibility it is also relevant to sustainability professionals who seek an overview of the theoretical debate on corporate responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages182
ISBN (Print)9781138065543
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Corporate responsibility and political philosophy: Exploring the social liberal corporation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this