The Public Company Transformed: Introduction

The Public Company Transformed (Oxford, 2018)

University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 62/2018

39 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2018 Last revised: 3 Nov 2018

See all articles by Brian R. Cheffins

Brian R. Cheffins

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: October 2, 2018


The American public company has undergone a fascinating transformation since the mid-20th century. Up to this point, however, a detailed analytical synthesis of the changes involved has been lacking. The Public Company Transformed (Oxford University Press, 2018) correspondingly examines the history of the American public company from the managerial capitalism era through to today, using as the primary reference point senior corporate executives and the constraints affecting the choices available to them. This introductory chapter to the book begins by providing an overview of the basic chronology involved. Next, the book’s contribution to the vast literature on corporations is spelled out. Case studies that move the analysis from the abstract to the specific follow. The focus is on two iconic American business enterprises, AT&T and General Electric. With both being prominent throughout the period the book covers, the case studies illustrate in a concrete fashion key market and regulatory trends the remainder of the book explores. This introduction to The Public Company Transformed concludes with an overview of the book’s remaining chapters.

Keywords: public companies, history of the corporation, managerial capitalism, corporate executives, AT&T, General Electric

JEL Classification: G30, J51, K22, L21, L50, M12, N12, N22

Suggested Citation

Cheffins, Brian R., The Public Company Transformed: Introduction (October 2, 2018). The Public Company Transformed (Oxford, 2018), University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 62/2018, Available at SSRN:

Brian R. Cheffins (Contact Author)

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