Shaping the Corporate Landscape

14 June 2016, 10.00 AM - 15 June 2016, 5.00 PM

Wills Memorial Building

The Centre for Law and Enterprise in the Law School is planning a symposium entitled Shaping the Corporate Landscape that will explore the possibility of new corporate forms. There exists currently a distrust of corporate activity in the continuing aftermath of the financial crisis and in the context of increasing recognition of the threats of climate change and global, as well as national, inequalities. Leading textbooks talk about company behaviour as ‘often a cause for concern’ noting also that ‘public opinion is becoming less tolerant of corporate excess and malfeasance’. Despite continuing developments and efforts in the arena of corporate governance we are still beset with corporate scandals and we witness companies facing large fines for their environmental and cost cutting misdemeanours.

This symposium, recognising that the usual responses to dealing with these corporate problems are not effective, asks the question: is it the traditional form of the joint stock corporation itself that lies at the heart of these problems? What are the features of the corporate form and how it is regulated that might underscore these problems? Identifying such features will then provide a basis for the discussion to develop towards suggesting, more concretely, more progressive and beneficial regulatory developments around the corporate form. More fundamentally the symposium will investigate new and alternative forms of business enterprise with potentially more relevant, transformative and successful outcomes. Such emergent alternative corporate forms might include social enterprises, cooperatives and mutual societies, peer-to-peer production and a revival of the ‘commons’ as organisational form, in the contemporary economic and political context.

Participants will present and discuss papers on the following themes:

  1. Contemporary and historical critiques of the joint stock corporation, its governance and regulation.
  2. Avenues that point towards progressive development of the joint stock corporation, its organizational and legal form, governance, rights and liabilities.
  3. ​Emergent legal and organizational forms of business enterprise that present alternatives to the joint stock corporation and advance a more diverse, democratic, inclusive and flexible global entrepreneurial landscape comprising, amongst others, mutual societies, cooperatives and social enterprises.
  4. Avenues for bringing about positive changes that include the development of innovative and diverse enterprise activity, as well as enabling participants to engage more effectively.
The symposium will welcome papers on topical themes, from relevant legal and other disciplines. 

T​he event is intended to bring together an interdisciplinary network of scholars and practitioners, with overlapping areas of expertise including law, management, politics, sociology, finance, accounting, economics, regulation and governance. 

Contact information

For further information, please contact Nina Boeger.

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