Corporate accountability in a globalizing environment
: empirical evidence

  • John Kong Shan Ho

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    For many years, there have been vigorous arguments between supporters of the shareholder and stakeholder models as to which system is more effective in enhancing corporate values and disciplining managements. What view one takes of course very much depends on political viewpoint and national background. For example. economists or lawyers in the US or UK may argue that the Anglo-American shareholder model is more appropriate. This is because there is at least a criterion (i. e. share price) by which you could measure and compare corporate performance. Supporters of the shareholder model may argue that the concept of stakeholder is anticapitalism and that it is too broad and abstract, providing no clear boundary as to who may or may not fall into that category. Yet in contrast, their Japanese or German (and other Continental European) counterparts may argue that the Anglo-American approach of primarily focusing on share value and wealth maximization is too narrow and an over-simplistic view of the role played by corporations. Supporters of the stakeholder theory would argue that it is necessary to take into consideration interests beyond those of shareholders. This is because businesses ought to demonstrate certain responsibilities towards the society in which they operate. This thesis neither supports nor challenges the validity of either the shareholder or stakeholder approach. Instead it attempts to search for a "middle approach". The aim is to bring the concept of both values together to form a corporate governance model based on convergence and co-existence. The main proposal of this thesis is as follows. Living in the twenty-first century, we must understand that our world is neither being Americanized nor Europeanized or Orientalised. We are instead being globalized. National identities in terms of corporations will become less and less important as multinational corporations extend their activities throughout the globe. With the advance in technology and increase in cross-border business transactions amongst countries, it is no longer justified to argue that "one business model fits all". As academics and practitioners we must therefore explore ways in which we could bring the best out of different models so that they can be converged to form a more coherent approach towards the balancing of different conflicting interests.
    Date of Award2009
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAlice Belcher (Supervisor) & Stuart Cross (Supervisor)

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