Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2003

Fiduciary Ethics

Patricia C. Flynn
Pages 43-48

Ethics in the Board Room
Contracts or Fiduciary Relationships?

Most contemporary discussions of institutional ethics take contractual rather than fiduciary relations as the model for describing moral responsibilities, leaving institutional boards with few resources to support and critique their moral behavior. I argue that institutional fiduciary relationships cannot be characterized as contracts, either in fact or function. Each form of relationship privileges a different set of behaviors and values that are far from interchangeable.