This critically important book proposes a new paradigm for understanding, developing and maintaining standards of corporate governance. Its point of departure is not a position along the diverse paths of traditional corporate governance and regulatory theory, law and practice, nor specific questions of how to institute, implement and observe policies and practices that function as proxies for good governance. Instead, it starts with the idea of framing governance generally, and corporate governance specifically, as a matter of conduct that is guided by a set of fundamental ideals and principles.
Evolutions in Corporate Governance attempts to answer the wider question of how to re-imagine a framework within which ‘good’ corporate governance − that takes account of and is responsible for the social, environmental, ethical as well as legal and economic dimensions of business conduct − is addressed alongside issues of profitability and competition, in the face of forces of globalization and business influence that are testing the limits of what can be accomplished by traditional law and regulation. Dempsey contends that meaningful change in behaviour will only come when there is a corporate governance framework that explicitly encompasses both law and ethics.
The tool structures the implementation process in five learning stages (defensive, compliance, managerial, strategic and civil). The final civil stage describes political corporate behaviour. The author includes an empirical assessment of five Swiss multinationals in this book which reveals that most companies – even those with relatively long-standing and mature policies on social and environmental issues – have only just started to learn how to become corporate citizens. The book therefore concludes with a discussion of an issue-specific extension of the assessment tool and presents methods for setting priorities in the approach to corporate citizenship that may also facilitate corporate engagement with stakeholders.
The tools developed in this book provide practical and detailed guidance for implementing and embedding CC and managing corporate legitimacy. It will be essential reading for practitioners looking for ways to legitimize their engagement with societal issues and for academics considering how we can better measure the engagement of business with CC.