Casting Call: The Expanding Nature of Actorhood in U.S. Firms, 1960-2010

It is an unexpected twist of history that today we routinely discuss firms in the United States as coherent actors with an autonomous “self.” Although court decisions dating back to the 19th century granted corporations some of the same legal rights and protections afforded to individuals, firms were not envisioned as independent actors in the sense that the term is used today. Instead, firms were contexts for action or instruments for achieving owners’ goals and interests, which have been variously described along a spectrum ranging from benevolent to dangerously selfish.

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Accounting, Organization and Society.

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