Critical and Philosophical Reflections
Edited by Leah Tomkins
Chapter 7: Leadership and the fiduciary: addressing asymmetrical power by caring well
This chapter considers the fiduciary relationship between trustees and beneficiaries in relation to care, power and responsibility. The historical premises regarding beneficiaries’ agency and reasoning capabilities are founded in gender politics upheld by now outdated laws including couverture. By emphasising and elevating reason, and seeking evidence of the characteristics of inequality, dependence, reliance and authority in fiduciary relationships, the power inequity in this relationship of caring leadership was historically enforced. The fiduciary is at core a moral relationship – one which benefits from exploration through an ethics of care. With fiduciary and trusts having their roots in familial law – in the domestic/private sphere where care has historically been relegated – fiduciary has past dealings with care. With increasing shareholder activism, the catalyst for change in development of fiduciary character, of leaders who care-well, could be caused via agitation of their beneficiaries resisting the power asymmetry, that is, by increasing market demands.
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