Companies as "Cyborgs"? The Political Implications of Limited Liability, Legal Personality and Citizenship

Grahame Thompson

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    This paper investigates the legal and commercial consequences of companies being considered as both an entity and a person in law – hence the notion of ‘cyborg’ in its title. It concentrates upon legal personhood and relates this particular feature to the issue of corporate citizenship. In turn corporate citizenship provides a link to considering the political role of companies, since in claiming citizenship they are implicitly at least claiming a particular set of political rights consequent upon that status, and announcing a particular politically constrained context associated with their operational characteristics. But what would be involved in granting companies full citizenship rights in the image of natural person citizenship? The paper explores this issue in connection to the differences between corporate social responsibility and an earlier idea of the socially responsible corporation that arose in the debate between Adolph Berle and Edwin Dodd in the 1930s, focussing on the notion of ‘enterprise entity analysis’ that was posed in that debate, and which has reappeared more recently.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
    PublisherCopenhagen Business School, CBS
    Number of pages45
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Corporate Citizenship
    • Company Law
    • Corporate Legal Personality
    • Limited Liability
    • Enterprise Entity Analysis
    • Property Rights

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