Shareholders and Stakeholders Around the World: The Role of Values, Culture, and Law in Directors’ Decisions

69 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2019 Last revised: 2 Jul 2019

See all articles by Amir N. Licht

Amir N. Licht

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Renee B. Adams

University of Oxford; ABFER

Date Written: June 12, 2019


This study sets out to examine the relative importance of legal versus cultural institutions and personal values for strategy and corporate governance. We present first evidence on the way personal and institutional factors together guide public company directors in decision-making concerning shareholders and stakeholders. In a sample comprising more than nine hundred directors from over fifty countries of origin, we confirm that directors universally hold a principled, quasi-ideological stance towards shareholders and stakeholders, called shareholderism. Directors’ shareholderism correlates systematically not only with personal values but also with cultural norms that are consistent with entrepreneurship. Among legal factors, only creditor protection exhibits a negative correlation with shareholderism, as theory would suggest, while general legal origin and proxies for shareholder and employee protection are unrelated to it. Personal values and cultural norms thus appear to dominate legal rules in shaping directors’ shareholderism stances.

Keywords: shareholderism, stakeholders, directors, values, culture, social norms, law, regulation, preferences, institutions, corporate governance, CSR, entrepreneurship

JEL Classification: K22, M14

Suggested Citation

Licht, Amir N. and Adams, Renée B., Shareholders and Stakeholders Around the World: The Role of Values, Culture, and Law in Directors’ Decisions (June 12, 2019). European Corporate Governance Institute - Law Working Paper No. 459/2019. Available at SSRN:

Amir N. Licht (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
972-9-952-7332 (Phone)
952-9-9513323 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

B-1050 Brussels
952-9-9513323 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http:/

Renée B. Adams

University of Oxford ( email )

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Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain


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