The Future of the Corporation will address the purpose of business and ask what its role in society should be. It will ask whether shareholder value should remain the sole guiding principle for business and, if not, what other purposes should be considered. It will ask who should define the purpose of businesses, and how the interests of different parties, such as employees, customers, suppliers and investors, should be reflected in that purpose.
The project will take place over three years and include two main activities – a research programme and a public engagement programme. The objective is to have a profound influence on academic and business discourse on the corporation and to lay the foundations for the formulation of public policy towards corporations in the 21st century.
The project is timely in light of the current government’s considerable interest in corporate governance and rebuilding trust in business. It will focus on responsible business in a globalised world by looking at issues specific to the UK and concerns in other developed countries and in the developing world.
The programme is focused around three main themes:
1. Purpose – what is the role of business? What is it trying to do?
2. Policy – including law and regulation
3. Practice – informing and influencing business leaders
The objective is to create a blueprint for a redefined corporation in the 21st century, which benefits not only investors and shareholders but society more widely through a purpose which is broader than just making profit. We want to inform and influence policy and practice in the UK and internationally and empower corporations to transform their purpose and governance.
The programme has already gained great traction and begun to engage senior business leaders and policy makers in discussions on some key issues and will continue to do so over the full three years of the programme.
A launch event will take place in Autumn 2017, and in 2018, a call for research funding applications will be launched, inviting applications on a number of key topics identified through discussions with policymakers and business leaders, and through commissioned landscaping research.
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