Public Opinion, Risk to Reputation: The Essentials of Societal Corporate Governance?
Conference on National Governance Bundles, September 28-29, 2012, Cambridge Judge Business School, UK
19 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2012
Date Written: September 28, 2012
This paper will examine the role of reputation regarding corporate governance in terms of performance, risk control and the possible role of legislature or behaviors in this field (in particular with regards to the recent Green Paper “Companies in the EU: a management of governance”, COM (2011) 164 final, of the 5th April 2011, of the European Commission).
Image, reputation, positive or negative opinion, notoriety of the companies and their managers are regarded as an element of their performance. It is accepted that public opinion, inherently linked to the reputation risk is an essential element of corporate governance. Regarding the need of a long term matter, particularly after the financial crisis, a short period of time is enough to transform a positive public opinion into a negative one. In addition, the assessment of public opinion is complex. Everyone can freely form an “opinion”. The opinion may be private and public. Public opinion refers to society, to citizens and to the people. Its classic means of expression are freedom of the press and freedom of speech. This question is particularly crucial regarding the role of the companies to the “society” as recently defined by the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the committee of the Regions, A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility, the European Commission and the European Parliament (Brussels, 25.10.2011) COM(2011) 681 final).
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