Why Corporate Purpose Will Always Matter

21 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2020

See all articles by Lyman Johnson

Lyman Johnson

Washington and Lee University - School of Law; University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Business persons and lawyers (and law professors) perennially struggle over the question whether a business corporation does or should have a purpose other than advancing the interests of shareholders. After briefly setting the stage by describing the dispute over what the positive law of corporate purpose really is and the normative argument over what corporate purpose should be, this short article takes a different turn. It addresses why, in a dynamic, democratic, pluralist society, the foundational issue of corporate purpose remains so important and will not (and should not) go away. However adamantly divergent descriptive and prescriptive positions are held, it is to be expected - and healthy - that, periodically at least, the debate will be revisited and disagreements aired. Neither corporate law nor business practice demands an unequivocal or uniform resolution. Different businesses will continue to answer the corporate purpose question differently.

Keywords: corporate law, corporate governance

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Lyman P. Q., Why Corporate Purpose Will Always Matter (2020). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Forthcoming 2021, U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-18, Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682231

Lyman P. Q. Johnson (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States
540-458-8515 (Phone)
540-458-8488 (Fax)

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN - School of Law

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States

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