Collective Intentionality

People often ascribe intentionality to collective actors, such as nations, corporations, and groups. Implicitly or explicitly, they assume that these actors have their own interests, dispositions, and habits, as well as their own distinctive orientations toward the world. A large body of social theory and research justifies this approach. Over time, collectives do develop typical ways of doing things, which shape the cognition and behavior of their memberships. This intentionality of a collective (i.e., its orientation to action or character) can play an important role in shaping its external reputations. In turn, such reputations influence the future character of the collective by making its members proud and inclined to maintain its character, for example, or by making them ashamed and keen to change it. The ...

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