From The State of Nature to Corporate Social Responsibility: The Social Contract of Corporate Political Roles and Responsibilities

Alexandre M. S. Hjorth-Johansen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis aims at defining corporate political roles and public participation in the framework of social contract theory. With Thomas Hobbes’, Jean Jacques Rousseau’s and Immanuel Kant’s thinking as the main reference, we will investigate the development of corporate political roles and participation, firstly by analyzing the notion of a state of nature – a hypothetical scenario in which a legitimized body of power is lacking. We will imagine an economic system without any higher authority, before suggesting potential bodies of power. Secondly, the theory of “the state of nature” will be applied in the analyses of the conflicts in which corporations find themselves against actors of civil society. The concept of the state of nature may help discern the mechanisms, causes and motivations behind the transition into a social order, a process that in turn leads individuals (in our case corporations) into a social order. Different forms of government, presented by the philosophers (or theorists), will be applied as “models of participation”, where corporations are active in the policy-making process. Based on the discerned motivations and mechanisms derived from the state of nature and impulses from the social order, we will suggest normative criteria for justification of conventions, namely corporate norms and policies

EducationsMsc in Business Administration and Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages81
SupervisorsJeremy Moon