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Dr Samuel Mansell

Dr Samuel Mansell


Researcher profile

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Samuel joined the School of Management at the University of St Andrews in September 2010. Prior to this he was based at the University of Essex where he studied accounting, finance and management (2000 to 2004) with the aim of a lucrative career in corporate finance. However, the chance discovery of philosophy led him in a more contemplative direction, so he began a PhD in 2004 researching philosophical questions in business ethics (under the supervision of Steffen Böhm and Harro Höpfl). He completed his 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, he has served as Pro Dean (Undergraduate) for Arts & Divinity from January 2015 to December 2016.


  • MN2001 Management and Society
  • MN2002 Management Analysis
  • MN3201 Research Methods 1
  • MN5513 Ethics, Organisations and Management
  • ID1004 Great Ideas 2
  • MN5499 Dissertation

Research areas

My research draws on the history of moral, political and legal philosophy to rethink contemporary questions in business ethics. In particular, I am interested in the presuppositions of arguments concerning the purpose of business corporations ? especially the concept of the corporation itself and the ethics of capitalism. I am currently researching the idea of the corporate person, and the source of its authority, in medieval and early modern jurisprudence (particularly in the work of Hobbes), in an attempt to reassess the contemporary debate on corporate purpose and the reform of corporate governance. I recently led a collaborative effort (with Avia Pasternak, David Gindis and John Ferguson) to bring together perspectives on the corporation from the disciplines of business, philosophy and law; our special issue 'Rethinking Corporate Agency' was published by Journal of Business Ethics in 2019.

My PhD thesis examined the moral principles underpinning the so-called 'shareholder vs stakeholder' debate, and was subsequently published as the first book-length critique of stakeholder theory (Cambridge University Press, 2013).  Further topics at the intersection of business ethics and philosophy, on which I have published (or am currently writing on), include: the ethics of bureaucracy, shareholder activism, employee participation, responsible management education, ethical objectivity, the 'just price' in financial markets, and the moral agency of charities. In political philosophy, I am working on a critique Hobbes's account of an individual's right to resist the sovereign, from the perspective of natural law theory.

Selected publications


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