• KY16 9RJ

    United Kingdom

Accepting Postgraduate Research Students

Personal profile

Research overview

My research draws on the history of moral, political and legal philosophy to rethink contemporary questions in business ethics. I have a particular interest in the nature, purpose and intellectual history of the business corporation. My research on this topic has resulted in a philosophical defence of shareholder primacy through a theory of shareholder responsibility. My monograph Capitalism, Corporations and the Social Contract: A Critique of Stakeholder Theory (CUP, 2013), for example, defends shareholder primacy by critically examining the moral arguments underpinning the proposed alternatives.

At the intersection of business ethics and the history of philosophy, I have also published on Levinas and the ethics of bureaucracy; stakeholder theory and the social contract tradition from Hobbes to Rawls; shareholder responsibility and Kant's virtue ethics; authority and membership in medieval corporations; and most recently Hobbes's theory of the corporation. In political philosophy, I recently published a critique of Hobbes's theory of resistance, from the perspective of natural law theory.

This work appears in Business Ethics Quarterly, Journal of Business EthicsIntellectual History Review, Journal of Institutional Economics and the 'Business, Value Creation and Society' monograph series at Cambridge University Press. I also serve on the editorial board of Journal of Business Ethics and led an interdisciplinary special issue entitled 'Rethinking Corporate Agency in business, philosophy and law' (2019). I am currently researching what an historical approach to philosophy would imply for normative business ethics, and welcome enquiries from potential PhD students interested in a philosophical and/or historical approach to business ethics. 


Research interests

Business ethics; purpose of the corporation; natural law theory; the political theory of Hobbes; the corporation and its intellectual history.

Academic/Professional Qualification

2009 - PhD (no revisions) in Management Studies, University of Essex

2004 - MSc (with Distinction) in Finance and Management, University of Essex

2003 - BA (Hons) in Accounting and Management, University of Essex


I joined the School of Management at the University of St Andrews in September 2010. Previously I was based at the University of Essex where I studied accounting, finance and management (2000 to 2004) with the aim of a lucrative career in corporate finance. However, the chance discovery of philosophy suggested a more contemplative vocation, so I began a PhD in 2004 researching philosophical questions in business ethics (under the supervision of Steffen Böhm and Harro Höpfl). I completed my thesis in 2009, entitled A Critique of Stakeholder Theory, while working for two years as a Teaching Fellow at Essex Business School. Since joining St Andrews, I have served as Pro Dean (Undergraduate) for Arts & Divinity from 2015 to 2017.

Profile Keywords

Business ethics; moral philosophy; history of political thought

Teaching activity

  • MN1002 Organisations and Analysis
  • MN2002 Management and Analysis: Analysis of Financial Data
  • MN5499 Dissertation lectures

My teaching at St Andrews has covered business ethics, organisational behaviour, introductory accounting, introductory business strategy, critical perspectives on accounting, auditing and corporate governance, theoretical research methods in management, sustainable development, and Hobbes's theory of the state (for the MLitt in Intellectual History). I also coordinated 'Great Ideas 2' (ID1004) from 2017-20, bringing together perspectives on reality, cosmology, evolution and human rights from across the Arts and Science faculties.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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