Discussion 7

Ch.8: Using the readings in this chapter develop and defend your own position on the question of whether the actions of corporations are always completely translatable into the actions of identifiable individuals.

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25 responses to this post.

  1. I do not believe the actions of corporations are translatable into the actions of specific individuals. In the end a corporation is a unit made up of many different people in which have different tasks to do for the corporation, but the corporation as a whole can not be liable for each particular persons actions. John Danley puts it simply by saying “Corporations are more like machines than persons, and we should treat them as such”. Tjohnson

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  2. Posted by NChaney on 2011/08/02 at 11:09 PM

    The actions of corporations can be translated into the actions of identifiable individuals. I’m pretty sure that when a large corporation is under fire for something significant someone is responsible, and I highly doubt it’s the person scrubbing the toliets. I know of two good examples that relate to this topic. Take for example, Pharmor. This used to be a grocery store franchise in northeast Ohio in the 80’s and 90’s. The company went under when it was made public that someone embezled around 500 million dollars. These actions were translated into certian individuals, one of which I know very well. The other example I know of, but less about the details is Enron. It;s like John Danley said “corporations are like machines” meaning they are doing the work of certain individuals actions. Therefore I believe those individuals who make such actions should be held responsible.

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  3. Posted by Hilary Carr on 2011/08/04 at 7:06 PM

    I believe that the actions of corporations can be translated into the actions of identifiable individuals. Not to say that all employees of a corporation are guilty when a corporation does something illegal, but there are a group of decision makers and they should be held responsible for the decision that they made.
    There are different levels of employees and those who are not responsible for decisions should not be held responsible for the actions of those who made decisions.
    It is important for decision makers to hold themselves accountable for their actions, not just the fictional person that is the corporation, or else there is no justice for the people harmed in their faulty decision making.

    HCarr

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  4. I believe that the actions of corporations can be translated into the actions of identifiable individuals andThe translation is deceptive precisely because it translates the concept faithfully into modes of actual behavior, propensities, and dispositions and, in so doing, it takes the mutilated and organized appearances themselves real enough for the reality … If a crime is not detected or otherwise “cleared up,” there is always a directly translatable into sociological and psychological terms.a “crime” (illegal action) can occur without there being an identifiable .

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  5. Posted by misty bess on 2011/08/07 at 4:20 PM

    I do believe that the individuals that comprise a corporation should each be held accountable for his/her actions and decisions. I agree with Darnley’s point of view that when you consider corporations to be a moral person too many problems and complications can arise. Often times, when a negative outcome occurs, those persons responsible get shielded unjustly from the resulting consequences while those innocent suffer. On the other hand, when there is a great benefit from the choices made, the person deserving of the outcome will not get their due recognition. French’s stance that corporations should be considered a moral being is unjustifiable to me. This gives these institutions too much power and control to act completely in the self-interest of itself, with little or no thought to the resulting penalties. Although it is easy from a conversational standpoint to sometimes categorize a corporation as a single person when talking certain state of affairs, morally I think each person encompassing the establishment should be treated as separate biological beings.

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  6. Today corporations have undue influence and power in the world and in our communities. The unfortunate key to this power is the corporate legal claim to “personhood” – the twisted and immoral manipulation by corporate attorneys in1866 that opened the proverbial door to bestow non-existent, unconstitutional “rights” upon corporations. I was appalled by this fact as presented in the movie, “The Corporation,” and wonder if our founding fathers “turn in their graves” at this gross misinterpretation of a human being’s unalienable rights. I find the whole idea to be ludicrous and to “have a slippery moral surface…the great modern crimes are public crimes- crimes committed by functionaries…who are insulated in a puzzling way from what they do.” (Thomas Nagel, as quoted by Callahan in introduction to Chapter 8) Because of this “personae fictae” of corporations, they have limited liability and oftentimes questionable professional ethics that enable the people who make and profit from decisions to avoid responsibility for their actions. I, like John Danley, take strong issue with corporatism, and like his mechanistic model for understanding corporations. “Corporations, says Danley, are more like machines than persons… when a machine goes awry, we blame its creators and operators; and Danley argues that the same should be true of corporations and their creators and operators.” (Callahan, page 263) I wonder if somehow I could possibly get in touch with Mr. Danley? I would like to suggest that he apply his same brilliant reasonings to corporate attorneys as “machines” created for the propagation of big business in America… where, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…and hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    SBayus

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  7. Posted by Ashley Whitford on 2011/08/07 at 7:06 PM

    I believe that the actions of corporations are translatable into the actions of identifiable individuals. The corporation is made up of a large group of people who control what the corporation does, when it does it and how the task is done. The people of the corporation who are making the decisions, either good or bad, should be held accountable for what their outcomes are. If the corporation was identified as a person, there would be nowhere for blame to be placed when something went wrong. I agree with Danley when he says “Only persons, that is, entities with particular physical and mental properties, can be morally responsible.” There will always be faults in a corporation, and I feel as if the person who personally made them should be the one to blame. Not on the say, janitors or secretaries, who have no say in the decision making. The individuals in the corporation that are on the decision making boards are the ones to blame when something falls apart. Not the corporation as a whole because not everyone in the corporation makes the decisions. If the individuals inside of a corporation essentially want to put the blame on what French calls the “corporation as a person”, maybe the corporation shouldn’t be making so many bad and faulty decisions. Then, the problem of placing the blame is essentially eliminated. But, in today’s society, this isn’t a plausible solution. So, if there needs to be blame placed on anyone, it should be on the individuals that are making the decisions.

    AWhitford

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  8. Posted by Carol Kines on 2011/08/08 at 1:15 AM

    I do not agree with French that corporations should be treated as full-fledged moral persons. Given our current laws in this country, we provide special rights to corporations that are not afforded to the average population. I agree with Danley that only individual people have the capability to act morally and with intent. Corporations operate to support the owners or shareholders of the company, and are guided by a group of people who may individually hold values and morals. However, a corporation cannot act morally or with intent, and do not act as an individual. As such, the acts of a corporation cannot be completely translatable into the actions of identifiable individuals.

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  9. Posted by Mike Senchak on 2011/08/08 at 3:13 PM

    No. Actions of corporations cannot always be translated into identifiable individuals. Understandably, some instances must find individuals to be accountable. If top executives of an organization steal millions from investors, those individuals are held responsible. Unfortunately, in some examples of this in the past, all employees of the organization end up paying for it with their jobs. In most instances though I agree with Peter A. French. Corporations have a structure and when the decisioon making follows that structure, the corporation is like it’s own entity. French goes on to state, “Corporate decisions are in many respects independent of the individual decision makers, or the intentions of individual decision makers.”

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  10. Posted by Dominic DeRose on 2011/08/08 at 8:51 PM

    Corporations actions are always translatable to a specific individual or individuals. I agree with Danley 100% with that corporations are machines, designed and operated by the few, for the benefit of the few. After all, if there were no people running the corporations the corporations themselves would have no influence on anyone or anything. A recent example is the gulf oil spill at the deep water horizon drill station that BP was responsible for. Had there been no biological people to construct the platform, to operate the platform or to fund the platform it would have never been constructed and the disaster that BP is currently responsible for would have never taken place. It is completely possible to trace who made what decisions that led up to the failure that caused so many innocent biological people to being harmed.

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  11. Posted by Michael Green on 2011/08/09 at 12:54 AM

    Yes corporations actions are translatable to a specific individual or individuals. The CEO is the main person is charge. He appoints the directors and managers to all areas of the business. When things go wrong, somebody needs to be held accountable.The board is going to look at the top brass for answers. If the problem is so big that the corporation is srcutinized, then somebody at the top more than likely made that call. Mail clerks dont bring down corporations. Poor executive decisions do.

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  12. Posted by Walter Bell on 2011/08/09 at 5:57 PM

    I do believe Corporations should always be identifiable as specific individuals. The CEO with maybe the influence of the CFO, controller, and maybe treasurer. My point is, unless you are an officer or in top management of the entire company, you probably won’t have the final say on a decision. The Officers have all the power in the company and their decisions are usually based solely off of the bottom line to please the board of directors and ultimately have the highest profit possible for the stockholders. As far as decision making goes, a janitor has virtually no say in the company where as the CEO pretty much has the power for decision making within the company. When there are screw ups or illegal actions taken, I believe it is usually the top management that knows about it and they should be the ones to blame. Not the janitor, the sales representative, or the cashier of the company. These higher up officials should be treated individually, the corporation itself comprises of lower level positions and they should not feel the heat from an officers decision. I agree with Danley that an entire corporation can’t be blamed but only an individual.

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  13. Posted by Marc Kosec on 2011/08/09 at 11:56 PM

    Corporations are conglomerates of people. These people are the decision makers. A corporation in itself is just a name. The values and arguments of the owner/CEO are that which shape the company’s moral image. It is the responsibility of the CEO or other high ranking officials in that company to ensure the moral values of the corporation remain acceptable to them. My basic argument is that a corporation is just a name, the people behind it are the ones that make the decisions. If a bad decision is made and moral dilemma arises, then it is the person that made that decision that will need to accept the consequences.

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  14. Posted by Nicole Zarzycki on 2011/08/10 at 3:29 AM

    I believe that a corporations is only what its employees make it to be. I would say that the actions of the corporations are alsways translatable into the actions of the indentifiable individuals. I agree with Danley and his arguement. Danley believes that corporations should be looked at from the mechanistic model of view. Danley believes ‘ When a machine goes awry, we blame its creators and operators” (pg.263). So Danley would argue that when a corporation has malfunctions we should blame the creators and operators.

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  15. Posted by Michael Sammartino on 2011/08/10 at 8:27 PM

    I do not think corporations should be treated as individuals because it is the individuals in those corporations responsible for making good or bad decisions. The entity itself does not make the decision, it is the CEO’s, trustees, and shareholders. This is like saying every citizen of Iraq and Afghanistan is responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks! It is a select few who planned and executed the entire operation with a vast majority of the nation in the dark and unfortunately the actions of the few impacted the mass as a whole.

    -msammartino

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  16. Posted by Natalie Haynam on 2011/08/10 at 9:14 PM

    I believe the actions of corporations are always translatable into the actions of identifiable individuals. In order to form a corporation, one person or group of people must come together to do so. A corporation is not a living, breathing, organism which John Danley goes to prove in this chapter that only persons can be held morally responsible for the actions that occur within a company. I agree with his point of view and argument. It is the CEO of a corporation and their team members that form the backbone of the corporation and oversee everything that happens. When actions within a corporation take place, they can be traced back to the person who is accountable for them. I do not believe you can blame a corporation because it has no feelings or remorse, and in reality it is not an actual human being. As Danley points out, the corporation in terms of French’s view is a “personae fictae” or fictional person. I believe it is physically impossible to blame or punish a fictional person, in our case a corporation, for the actions that occur within that corporation. It was not the intent of the corporation for the actions that occurred. It was the intentions of various individuals who comprise of the corporation who are to be blamed for the actions that occurred.

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  17. Posted by Kimberly Bertmeyer on 2011/08/11 at 3:29 AM

    I do not think that the actions of corporations are ALWAYS translatable into the actions of identifiable individuals, but I think most of time when things go wrong in a corporation most of the blame can be put on one or several individuals. Generally these individuals are the ones with the most power within the company and they take the entire company down with them. This goes along with what Danley says about treating corporations as persons. Only persons with particular physical and mental properties can be morally responsible. All decisions made within a company are in sense made by individuals. Maybe not one individual, but a select few. Most of the people that are involved in a corporation are not in charge and they are not the ones making the decisions. However, they are usually the ones hurt the most when those in charge make bad decisions. It is ridiculous to blame a corporation as a whole for the actions of a select few. If there were more laws governing against corporations being treated as persons the decision makers would have to be a lot more careful when making choices for the company. I think the fact that corporations are treated the same as individuals makes those in control think that they can get away with deception and breaking the law.

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  18. Posted by Leah Richards on 2011/08/11 at 3:41 PM

    I do not agree that the actions of corporations are always completely translatable into the actions of the individuals. Peter French suggests the corporations are “metaphysically seperate persons”, and should be granted full membership in the moral community. I agree with this quote because the officials of the corporate offices should be held accountable for the immoral actions that are taking place.

    -LRichards

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  19. Posted by Michelle Green on 2011/08/11 at 4:53 PM

    I believe that the actions of corporations can be translated into the actions of identifiable individuals. The corporation is made up of a large group of people who control what the corporation does. It is the responsibility of the CEO, board members and top ranking officials in that company to make certain the moral values of the corporation remain up to standard. That being said, I don’t feel that that every individual employee of the corporation should be help responsible when the corporation is guilty of a crime. If there is a need to blame someone, it should be on the person or persons that are making these decisions. It’s like John Danley said “corporations are like machines, designed and operated by the few, for the benefit of the few.” For that reason I believe those individuals who make such actions should be the ones held accountable.

    MLG

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  20. Posted by Philip Ciprian on 2011/08/11 at 8:01 PM

    Working for a large company, I can say that certain actions that are perceived on the outside of our company cannot be directly translated to any one individual. I would make the assumption that even larger corporations would be perceived the same way. The actions are more so related to how the company is run, such as the way the departments are set up and how they communicate to one another. Another contributing factor is the chain of command of a corporation. More often than not, when a customer contacts a company, they will be put in touch with a lower person in the company. From there it requires a lot of work to contact a person up the chain.

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  21. I agree with Danley’s view of the corporation that the actions of corporations are always translatable into the actions of identifiable individuals. I reject French’s view of the corporation and I don’t believe a corporation should be recognized as a person fictae. I believe in the traditionalist view that only entities with physical and mental properties can be morally responsible for their actions. The individuals in the corporation are responsible for all of the duties of the corporation, and are vital for its success. We see problems in the corporatist position making it so a corporation could never act illegally, and I question that whom can the corporation blame in an act of passion? Feelings can only be acted against persons. Danley says, “The Corporation is more like a machine than an organism. Like machines they are human inventions, designed by humans, modified by humans, operated by humans. Like many machines they are controlled by the few for the benefit of the few”. This truly shows us that we should be worried about the individuals, because they are the ones running the corporation. There is always an individual or a group of individuals that made the action possible.

    MTobin

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  22. Posted by JScacchetti on 2011/08/12 at 12:09 AM

    I completely agree with Danley’s view of corporations. Even if it is the result of policies from the corporation, they have been put in place by people. Computers performing illicit activities? Programmed by people. Any illegal or immoral outcome from a corporation is the result of the people who are both employed by the corporation and in charge of the corporation.

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  23. Posted by Molly Jones on 2011/08/12 at 3:15 PM

    I dont think that individuals should be held accountable for a corporations mistake or problems. Within a corporation or business there is always higher persons who it is their job to make sure the corporation doesn’t have mistakes, that it runs smoothly, but if there is a mistake it is their job to fix it immediately and correct. Even though I stand by that no one gets blames for mistakes because businesses. corporations should act as a team managers, owners, etc. should be in charge of any problems. Take a restaurant for example, if a server rings in the food the wrong way and the customer isn’t happy usually the server apologizes but most apologizes aren’t accepted unless a manager comes out to apologize and takes that item off their bill or gives a complimentary dessert, etc. Even though the server made the mistake it is in the hands of the manager to fix the problem and to make sure the server doesn’t make a mistake like that again so the business can run smoothly and so they can get good businesses. All of businesses/ corporations are built from the ground up. People in charge, like managers, owners, district managers, etc. are not needed if there is no one underneath of them. Take a restaurant again for example; you have to start off with the small people, for example, janitors to make a clean environment, then someone like the hostess to seat people, then servers to serve the customers, bussers to clean the tables, cooks to cook the food, bartenders to make drinks for the customers, then the managers to watch over everything that gets done day to day, then a district manager to make sure each restaurant is following the rules, and then the owner who really is the man to please. Even though janitors are at the bottom of the list without them there wouldn’t be a clean, sanitary restaurant where people would want to come. It is up to the managers to make this work environment like a team to be a succesful business/ corporation because without one leg of the business/ corporation it all falls.

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  24. Posted by mnortey on 2011/08/12 at 6:22 PM

    i believe that cooperations should be responsible of those actions of the individuals to a certain extent. yes of course the negatives and positives are always granted to the cooperation on a grand scale but there should be consequences for the individuals that have brought the company down in a sense. cooperations should be treated as persons and most decisions made within a company are usually made by a select few individuals.

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  25. I believe that actions of corporations are always translatable into actions of individuals. As a corporation, the leaders establish the code of conduct, rules and way of doing business, which resonates down the chain of command. Any employee or leader of the company should assume responsibility for their actions. Every employee has the ability to commit wrong doings within the corporation. As presented in the slides, Danley believes, only persons, the is, entities with particular physical and mental properties can be morally responsible. He also believes, the individuals that comprise a corporation are ultimately responsible for the corporation’s actions. I will agree with his beliefs and also add that corporations do not intend anything, it is the people within the organization that have bad intentions. Holding a whole corporation responsible penalizes people employed that had no idea or involvement in the issue.

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