Economic Policies for Innovative Enterprises: Implementing Multi-Stakeholder Corporate Governance
31 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2019 Last revised: 20 Jul 2021
Date Written: April 18, 2019
Large corporations dominate economic and social life in the United States and around the globe. The mainstream corporate governance ideology of “shareholder primacy” claims that the exclusive purpose of a corporation is to generate returns for shareholders, which means that governance decisions should be exclusively in their hands. However, shareholder primacy lacks a theory of how companies innovate, and instead focuses solely on allocation of corporate profits, misunderstanding the relationship of shareholders to the 21st century corporation. The theory of the corporation as an innovative enterprise—engaged in productive innovation by producing higher-quality goods and services for lower unit costs—is an accurate way to understand what makes corporations successful producers. Stakeholder theory from progressive legal scholarship illustrates specific corporate governance institutions that can assist innovation, including fiduciary duty, stakeholder participation in decision-making, and equity ownership. This article contributes to the growing literature refuting shareholder primacy by utilizing the theories of the innovative enterprise and multi-stakeholder governance to propose reshaping US corporate governance to better to serve innovation in production and a balance of power in distributional decision-making.
Keywords: Corporate governance; shareholder primacy; employee ownership; financialization; stakeholders
JEL Classification: B50, D21, G30, G35, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation