Business Ethics Quarterly


Loyalty, Corporations, and Community

George D. Randels Jr


Some recent discussions of corporate loyalty have found it misguided, while others see it as crucial for financial success. There is also disagreement over the nature of loyalty. This article analyzes the concept of loyalty, arguing that it is neither a duty nor a virtue (although it has overlaps with those categories), but a passion related to various virtues (and vices). Contrary to standard accounts of capitalism, loyalty does not necessarily oppose self-interest. Furthermore, corporations can and should be communities, and insofar as they are, they are proper objects for loyalty. If corporations are not communities, then loyalty to them cannot exist.

George D. Randels Jr. is Assistant Professor of Social Ethics in the Religious Studies Department of the University of the Pacific. He previously taught at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and at New College of the University of South Florida. Randels has a Ph.D. in religious ethics from the University of Virginia, and an M.A.R. in social ethics from Yale University Divinity School. Besides business ethics, his interests include biomedical ethics and information technology.