The Role of the Corporation in Society: An Alternative View and Opportunities for Future Research
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
Date posted: May 28, 2013 ; Last revised: June 9, 2014
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