Indeterminable Responsibility Determinable Harm

A theory on harmless value creation

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A paper presented at the British Academy of Management Conference in the Cloud 2020. Get access to the paper here.

Corporations have been found to create harm for people in society; however, due to the organizational irresponsibility principle, responsibility has remained unattributable to agents. Despite the ills created, the economic and technological progress provided by capitalism have led its advocates to suggest that there is no alternative because benevolent intent is psychologically opposed to capitalist goals of achievement and power. Building upon theories of organizational irresponsibility, shared value, responsible innovation and value creation, the aim of this study is to explain why responsibility remains indeterminable and propose the concept of harmless value creation by adopting products as units of value. This shift of viewing responsibility from ‘who’ to ‘what’ renders harm attributable to the product (or process or service), even if not to the agent.

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