Law, Culture and Sustainability: Corporate Governance in the Nordic Countries

In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming).

University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019-21

Posted: 8 May 2019

See all articles by Jukka Mähönen

Jukka Mähönen

University of Oslo, Department of Private Law

Gudrun Johnsen

University of Iceland - Faculty of Business Administration

Date Written: May 6, 2019

Abstract

Nordic countries have their own variations of the same corporate law theme, based on equality between shareholders and minority protection. However, U.S.-style shareholder primacy has influenced corporate practices, legal literature and governance codes. The strength of the ‘Nordic model’ is not in law or in codes, but in a typically Nordic form of ‘active ownership’ by non-institutional direct shareholders such as families, foundations and public pension funds. It is not, however, enough and requires broader participation for sustainability. The answer might be in corporate board activity. The Nordic ‘soft’ shareholder activism, based on a dialogue between the investors and the board, gives room for the boards to convince the investors of the advantages of long-term sustainability. Recurring Nordic bank crises show that bankers’ motives for profit maximisation should be particularly constrained.

Keywords: active shareholding, board activity, bank crises, public ownership

Suggested Citation

Mähönen, Jukka T and Johnsen, Gudrun, Law, Culture and Sustainability: Corporate Governance in the Nordic Countries (May 6, 2019). In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming).; University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383444

Jukka T Mähönen (Contact Author)

University of Oslo, Department of Private Law ( email )

Karl Johansgt 47
N-0162, Oslo
Norway
+4722859534 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jus.uio.no/ifp/english/people/aca/jukkam/index.html

Gudrun Johnsen

University of Iceland - Faculty of Business Administration ( email )

Gimli vid Sturlugotu
Reykjavik
Iceland

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
269
PlumX Metrics