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Shareholders, Stakeholders and the 'Ordoliberalism'

17 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2005 Last revised: 1 Jun 2008

Mathias M. Siems

Durham University - Durham Law School; University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research


It is often said that a company should be expected to trouble itself with nothing else than the maximisation of shareholder return. In this article I suggest a three times 'yes, but'-solution: It is feasible for the legislation to consider the interests of non-shareholder stakeholders but not primarily by company law. An inclusion in company law is only useful as far as the specific corporate structure is concerned but this exception is not very extensive. Especially, I do not support a general duty to consider a great number of stakeholders' interests. As far as other areas of law are concerned, the hurdles are less restrictive but economic arguments can justify certain restrictions.

Keywords: Company law, shareholder protection, stakeholder protection, ordoliberalism

JEL Classification: K22, K31

Suggested Citation

Siems, Mathias M., Shareholders, Stakeholders and the 'Ordoliberalism'. European Business Law Review, Vol. 13, pp. 147-159, 2002 (with postscript 2008). Available at SSRN:

Mathias M. Siems (Contact Author)

Durham University - Durham Law School ( email )

Stockton Road
Durham, County Durham DH1 3LE
United Kingdom


University of Cambridge - Centre for Business Research ( email )

Top Floor, Judge Business School Building
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom


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