The Role of the Corporation in Society: An Alternative View and Opportunities for Future Research

George Serafeim

Harvard University - Harvard Business School

May 27, 2013

A long-standing ideology in business education has been that a corporation is run for the sole interest of its shareholders. I present an alternative view where increasing concentration of economic activity and power in the world’s largest corporations, the Global 1000, has opened the way for managers to consider the interests of a broader set of stakeholders rather than only shareholders. Having documented that this alternative view better fits actual corporate conduct, I discuss opportunities for future research. Specifically, I call for research on the materiality of environmental and social issues for the future financial performance of corporations, the design of incentive and control systems to guide strategy execution, corporate reporting, and the role of investors in this new paradigm.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: corporate performance, corporate size, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, accounting

JEL Classification: G3, K2, M1, M2, M3, M4, M5

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: May 28, 2013 ; Last revised: June 9, 2014

Suggested Citation

Serafeim, George, The Role of the Corporation in Society: An Alternative View and Opportunities for Future Research (May 27, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2270579 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2270579

Contact Information

George Serafeim (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Harvard Business School ( email )
381 Morgan Hall
Boston, MA 02163
United States
HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=ovr&facId=15705
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 6,591
Downloads: 1,973
Download Rank: 4,935

© 2016 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollobot1 in 0.172 seconds