Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Date of this version


Document Type

Working Paper


corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, law, ethics, corporate conduct, corporate personhood, corporate purpose, corporate regulation and corporate governance


This working paper focuses on the role of law in the history of corporate responsibility in the U.S. Recourse to the law for setting standards related to corporate conduct and processes has been a frequent dimension in debates about corporate responsibilities. The paper examines ideas and developments in four areas: corporate personhood; corporate purpose; corporate regulation; and corporate governance. Within this framework, the paper explores ways in which the law both reflects and shapes the cultural context in which corporations have evolved and the debates about the responsibilities of the corporation.

Citation/Other Information

URL: This paper is posted on the Center for Ethical Business Cultures website at

Citiations: This working paper, available here by permission of the author, may be cited as: Johnson, Lyman. 2011. Law And The History Of Corporate Responsibility* CEBC History of Corporate Responsibility Project Working Paper No. #6. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Ethical Business Cultures located at the Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas - Minnesota. (Keyword: Johnson). The views expressed in this working paper are those of the author.

*Copyright © 2011 by Lyman Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.