University of Bologna; University of Milano Statale and EconomEtica, University of Trento


Magalì Fia, Lorenzo Sacconi, Massimiliano Vatiero


So far, corporation are not seen as basic institutions of the society which should be subject to a theory of justice, i.e., a moral framework for shaping, guiding, and evaluating their operations according to criteria of justice. The main objective of this research projects is to develop a solid theoretical basis to see corporations as part of a theory of justice to shape basic institutions of the society and then to operationalize these concepts so to help corporations to navigate several aspects of the business conduct such as managing stakeholders’ relationship, facing accountability issues, structuring decision-making processes, etc. according to moral principles. 


  1. Setting the stage: We develop a theory of justice at firm level based on Rawlsian primary goods and Sen’s capabilities for defining principles of corporate governance.  (completed)
  2. Transform theoretical concepts into manageable tools: We further develop the inherent and strict link between capabilities and entitlements (rights, duties, etc), which we call capabilities-as-entitlements. We then conceptually analyse if and how corporate governance, i.e., the configuration of entitlements in a firm, enhances or diminishes capabilities of stakeholders. Lastly, we operationalize the concept of capabilities providing several indexes that are able to measure and compare capabilities developed within and between corporate governance regimes. (in progress)
  3. Gather data: this phase aims at developing case studies for the application of the capability-as-entitlement framework to evaluate corporations. The goal is to provide evidence from different corporate legal forms (from social ventures to for profit corporations) and stakeholders in different countries. (Initial stages)


  • Fia, M., & Sacconi, L. (2019). Justice and corporate governance: New insights from Rawlsian social contract and Sen’s capabilities approach. Journal of Business Ethics160(4), 937-960.
  • Fia M., Sacconi L. Vatiero M. Why and how Sen’s capability approach should deal with corporate governance. the working paper will be presented at AOM Conference 2021