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Future of the Corporation Research - Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is conventionally considered in a principal-agent framework of aligning the interests of directors with shareholders. Less consideration is given to the role of corporate governance in promoting and delivering corporate purpose – but what can we learn from experience about this relation? What does corporate purpose imply about the appropriate structure and composition of corporate boards and the way in which board committees operate? How do companies ensure that corporate purpose is embedded in their businesses? Does employee representation enhance or undermine business success? What models of employee representation have been most effective? Are they better suited to some types of corporate activities than others? How should employee representation be promoted in the corporate sector? How can the functioning of boards and board committees be improved? How can they be better aligned with corporate purpose and values, and how do they ensure that these are embedded throughout their organizations?

How can businesses make corporate governance fit for purpose?

Lead Researcher(s) Institution
Professor Jeffrey Gordon Columbia University

This research will look into challenging questions surrounding corporate governance. The United States, indeed much of the OECD, seems caught in a certain malaise, emphasising three salient problems: significant inequality; economic insecurity; and slow economic growth. In the search for causes and remedies, some have identified the governance of large public corporations, “corporate governance,” as a first order cause. The build-up of socio-political pressure from this “triad” gives rise to a systemic risk that will affect asset prices. This may produce shareholders that are “stability-minded” as well as “efficiency-minded.” The research will specifically look at the question, “Is there a way out of this box that does not entail a drastic change in the ownership and control of public corporations?”

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