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Encyclopedia > Corporate behaviour
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Corporate Behaviour (or corporate behavior) is the behaviour of a corporation or corporations (or company or companies). The corporate behaviour of for-profit (capitalist) corporations and not-for-profit (non-capitalist) corporations differ due to the fundamental drive for profit in for-profit corporations, compared to the non-monetary goals often held by not-for-profit corporations. Image File history File links Stop_hand. ... A corporation is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a natural person. ... A company in the broadest sense is an aggregation of people who stay together for a common purpose. ... Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Capitalism Capitalism has been defined in various ways. ... A Not-for-profit corporation is a corporation created by statute, government or judicial authority that does not issue stock. ... Profit is a positive return made on an investment by an individual or by business operations. ...


The Characteristics of for-profit (Capitalist) Corporate Behaviour

Corporate behaviour of for-profit corporations has characteristics. These characteristics are unlikely to remain fixed for various reasons, but key characteristics are discernable from the history of for-profit corporations. Some of the key characteristics may not apply to individual for-profit corporations at a point in time and space, though some key characteristics are probably present at all times. The best example is the drive for profit. The strength or importance of a key characteristic will also vary in time and space for many reasons. For instance a for-profit corporation may be able to grow at a faster rate if it has subsidiaries in other countries.

Reasons are numerous as to why key characteristics are absent or vary in strength or importance. Some reasons could be as follows:

  • Economic decline
  • Poor performance
  • Size of for-profit corporation
  • Management decisions
  • Type of for-profit corporation
  • Competition

Certain individuals and groups have proposed and described the characteristics of corporate behaviour. Read: [1] & [2]. These attempts, whilst a useful contribution, are not objective and should be read with this in mind.

Key characteristics of for-profit Corporate Behaviour

The key characteristics of corporate behaviour are as follows:

Note: This section is under development.

  • Profit: Profitability is the ultimate measure of corporate decisions. Corporations prefer higher profits to lower profits, at least in the long-run. Profitability is not necessarily the same as community well-being, though a profitable company is more likely to, for example, employ more people than an unprofitable company. Conflicts can exist, however, between what's good for a corporation and what's good for the environment, for example, or its employees or even the good of the state. A corporation is a complex organism and there has been much debate about what drives it. There is an argument that the divorce of ownership from decision-taking means that profitability isn't the main drive - senior managers may have other imperatives like keeping their jobs and avoiding being taken-over (which might run counter to the interests of share-holders). Corporations often like to grow, if only because they fear a bigger competitor having cost advantages. This is not always true, however: there have been cases where corporations have been broken up into constituent parts.
  • Amorality: Not being human, corporations as such do not have morals or altruistic goals. Neither, though, does any other organisation. Corporations are, though, run by people who are subject to law and rules of morality.
  • Hierarchy: Corporations are usually hierarchical, though the structure of the hierarchy varies. Some are relatively flat with a wide layer of middle managers answerable to a few individuals while others are like a pyramid. A very few corporations have a great degree of democracy to them. Ricardo Semmler owns corporations in Brazil but allows all his staff to pick managers and decide strategy. He puts himself up for election as a chief executive.

Profit is a positive return made on an investment by an individual or by business operations. ... Amorality is the quality of having no concept of right or wrong. ... Morality, in the strictest sense of the word, deals with that which is innately regarded as right or wrong. ... Altruism is alternately a belief, a practice, a habit, or an ethical doctrine. ... For the various types of hierarchy, see hierarchy (disambiguation) A hierarchy (in Greek: Ιεραρχία, it is derived from ιερός-hieros, sacred, and άρχω-arkho, rule) is a system of ranking and organizing things or people, where each element of the system (except for the top element) is subordinate to a single other element. ...

The Characteristics of not-for-profit (non-Capitalist) Corporate Behaviour

As non-capitalist corporations such as NGO's or charities are not driven by the fundamentals of profit and economic growth, these do not show many of the characteristics of capitalist corporations. The behaviour of non-capitalist corporations is however often influenced by these characteristics of capitalist corporations, in similar ways to the influence of corporate behaviour on individuals. Due to this influence non-capitalist corporations can sometimes be seen to exhibit the characteristics of hierarchy, competition and ephemerality. NGO is an abbreviation or code for: Non-governmental organization Nagoya Airport (IATA code) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... A charitable trust (or charity) is a trust organized to serve private or public charitable purposes. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ...

The Influence of Corporate Behaviour on Individuals & Society

Due to the dominance of capitalist corporations in Western societies the behaviour of corporations can be seen to have significant impacts on individuals and society. A person or group of people can have links to a corporation or corporations that range from weak to strong, if a person or group of people exhibit corporate behaviour that does not mean the person or group of people is employed by a corporation or corporations. A person or group of people may show corporate behaviour for different lengths of time, for some people they exhibit this behaviour at their place of work; for others it exhibited at work, home and outside the home. Many people display corporate behaviour but do not agree with actions and outcomes that result from it. The word western is an adjective used to refer to things that are in the West. ...

The fact that individuals may not agree with the outcomes of corporate behaviour is central to the concept in itself, the characteristics of capitalist corporations do not reflect the characteristics of any individual or group of individuals but are the characteristics required for the survival of capitalist corporations due to the nature of the system within which corporations operate.


Under the law, corporations are treated in many ways as persons. However, in other ways, they are not. One example is as follows. The thought of being put in prison acts as a powerful deterrent for most people: it prevents people from committing many crimes. But this powerful deterrent to harming people or society has no effect on a corporation, for a corporation cannot be put in prison.

See also

A corporation is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a natural person. ... Corporate crime refers to criminal practices by individuals that have the legal authority to speak for a corporation or company. ... Corporations law or corporate law is the law concerning the creation and regulation of corporations. ... Corporate personhood is a term used to describe the legal fiction used within United States law that a corporation has a limited number or subset of the same constitutional rights as a human being. ... Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions affecting the way a corporation is directed, administered or controlled. ... Business ethics is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context; the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting; and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged in commerce. ... Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an expression used to describe what some see as a company’s obligation to be sensitive to the needs of all of its stakeholders in its business operations. ... The stakeholder concept states that a companys responsibilites are to all of its stakeholders. Stakeholders are people who affect, and are affected by, the company. ... A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or company (including a corporation) that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a joint stock company. ...


Mander J (1991). In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations. Sierra Club Books, San Fransisco. The Sierra Club is an American environmental organization founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist John Muir, who became its first president. ...

Milchen J (2002). Inherent Rules of Corporate Behavior: A Primer. ReclaimDemocracy.org, Bozeman, Montana, USA.

  Results from FactBites:
OECD Observer: Responsible corporate behaviour for sustainable development (1331 words)
But the freedom multinational corporations have to operate internationally carries with it a responsibility to help ensure that the social and environmental costs of their business activities do not outweigh the benefits.
Corporations evolve within a framework of rules, whether those of their home country, the host country, international standards, such as the OECD’s MNE Guidelines and Principles of Corporate Governance, or their own codes of corporate conduct.
Corporations and governments have come under increasing public pressure to be seen to be making an effort.
Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3813 words)
Generally, a corporation files articles of incorporation with the government, laying out the general nature of the corporation, the amount of stock it is authorized to issue, and the names and addresses of directors.
If a corporation operates outside its home state, it is often required to register with other governments as a foreign corporation, and is almost always subject to laws of its host state pertaining to employment, crimes, contracts, civil actions, and the like.
The oldest corporation in the United States, and the oldest in North America, is the President and Fellows of Harvard College (also known as the Harvard Corporation), chartered in 1650.
  More results at FactBites »



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