if a corporation is a person, what kind of person would it be? If a corporation is a person, what kind of person would it be?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A corporation is legally a person, but that doesn't mean it thinks or acts like a person. First of all, corporations are responsible only to their shareholders. They make money. So a corporation would be a greedy person if a person.
santari's profile pic

santari | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Interesting question.  A corporation exists to maximize shareholder value, which usually means corporations are driven by the profit motive. So a corporation personified would be someone that cares only about their financial gain, who freely exploits the labor of others for his or her economic interest.

That said, corporation are managed and run by human beings and sometimes make decisions that don't maximize profit but are necessary to preserve or advance the reputation of the corporation. For example, a large well known company might raise wages or improve the working environment of overseas workers if a public outcry began to develop over the working conditions of those employees. 

Nonetheless, the impetus for such a move might be the fear of a public boycott or the changing of attitudes that would ultimately result in less consumers buying their product. So again, it could be argued that the only thing that matters is the profit of the corporation.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Corporation is a person created by law, this means that corporation can take certain legal action that are generally performed by individuals. These include like entering into legal contract, suing others, and being sued by others.

It is necessary to give such status of a legal person to corporations to permit them to carry out their commercial activities effectively, and to protect the interest of people and other corporations dealing with them.

One can understand this concept of legal person by comparing corporations with partnership, which is another form of business. A partnership is not a legal person. Therefore, the firm itself cannot enter into a partnership. The partners in the firm must enter into contracts in their individual capacities. If there is a breach of contract the partners are personally responsible for facing its consequences. In comparison when a corporation entersinto a contract, the shareholders of the corporation are not bound by the contract.

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