Finding Fault in Organizations – Reconceptualising the Role of Senior Managers in Corporate Manslaughter
Reason for embargo
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 purports to move away from the identification doctrine, towards a genuinely organisational model of corporate liability. There is a risk, however, that insistence upon the involvement of senior management in corporate manslaughter will reduce the Act to doing no more than aggregating individual misconduct. Such an approach would fail both to encompass the culpability of the organisation as more than just a collection of individuals, and to offer an effective tool for the prosecution of large organisations. I argue that the senior management requirement should not be interpreted as focusing on individuals, but on the authoritative systems of work that organisations impose upon their employees. Inherent in large organisations is a corporate structure, determining the meaning and value of what employees perceive and the boundaries and direction of their work. These structures emerge from the involvement of senior managers, whose rank and role within organisations enables them to contribute to the development of corporate structure. Through insistence on the involvement of these corporate architects and surveyors, the 2007 Act may be seen to emphasise the role of the organisation in corporate manslaughter, identifying truly corporate culpability.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 35 (3), pp. 385–407