Organizations as Wrongdoers

Organizations as Wrongdoers: From Ontology to Morality was published by Oxford University Press in 2023. You (or your library) can buy the book here. For institutional subscribers, it will also be available on Oxford Scholarship Online. You can download the first chapter at the bottom of this page.

The book has three parts. Part I, ‘Metaphysics,’ considers how organizations have material existence and how that existence relates to organizations’ members. I push the surprising view that organizations are material objects with humans as material parts (much like how a pizza is a material object with slices as material parts).

Part II, ‘Morality,’ explores how organizations can be blameworthy under three popular contemporary approaches to blameworthiness: the volitionist, attributivist, and aretaic approaches. I respond to a sentience-based objection to organizations’ blameworthiness, in the process of which I push the surprising view that organizations can literally feel guilt (when members feel guilt qua members).

Part III, ‘Members,’ turns to the implications of organizations’ wrongdoing for members. I catalogue the various ways members can be ‘implicated’ in organizational wrongdoing and provide guidance on how reparative burdens should be apportioned amongst members. Here, I push the totally unsurprising view that reparative burdens should be apportioned in accordance with members’ level of implication in the organization’s wrongdoing.