Reconstructing the Role of the Corporation: Multinational Corporations as Public Actors in Nigeria
Dublin University Law Journal, Forthcoming
Posted: 12 Jul 2007
The ways corporations are conceptualized have important implications for the claims of stakeholders. This is more so in view of the growth of huge multinational corporations (MNCs) worldwide and the implications of their operations in different jurisdictions. The paper focuses on non-shareholding stakeholders, employees and the community in particular; whose position in relation to the corporation as this paper demonstrates is largely dependent on the conception of the corporation. The paper examines the role of MNCs in Nigeria against the background of the dominant theoretical construct of the corporation in the country, which is largely influenced by the neo-liberal Contractarian American model of the corporation. The paper argues that because of the contentious nature of their enormous economic power the dependency of the economy of the host country on their operations, their shareholding structure and the nature of the resources they exploit multinational corporations cannot justifiably be construed as private actors. The paper highlights the constraint placed upon corporations based in the European Union who are construed as social institutions in their home country but have to operate strictly as private institutions as a result of the prevailing conception of the corporation in Nigeria. The paper posits that in order to reflect MNCs true role and address properly non-shareholding stakeholders concerns there is a the necessity to shift the governance paradigm in Nigeria towards the European Union's social model. The import of this topic becomes more apparent when we consider the ongoing privatisation and commercialization programme in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, which has seen MNCs taking over more public utilities.
Keywords: multinationals, corporation, coporate law theory, coporate governance, coporate social responsibility
JEL Classification: K20, K22, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation