The corporation is one of the most important and remarkable institutions in the world, affecting all of us all the time-feeding us, entertaining us, employing us. But corporations are also the cause of immense suffering, instruments of poverty, pollution, and financial crisis. And these problems are on the increase. Colin Mayer, distinguished financial economist, former Dean and now Professor of Management Studies at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, shows why this is happening and what we can do to restore trust in corporations.
What we need, he contends, are corporations whose values we all value, for which we are proud to work, from which we are confident to purchase, and in which we can expect a fair return on our investments. We need shareholders who appreciate that there are responsibilities as well as rewards for being owners and who are committed to promoting the interests of the corporation, not just their own. And we need firms to specify their values and principles clearly and precisely, and to establish boards of directors charged with upholding those values effectively.
Using examples and stories from history and around the modern world, Mayer illuminates the essential elements that define a corporation and are the source of its problems - ownership, governance, accountability, and trust - and sets out an ambitious agenda for change. He challenges governments, corporations, shareholders and consumers to convert the corporation into a twenty-first century organization that we can trust to promote the interests of economies and societies around the world.With that, enjoy the talk.
21st Century Inc.: Making the corporation work for us
14th Feb 2013
(full recording including audience Q&A)
RSA ThursdayWhile corporations are the source of our prosperity, they are also the cause of many of our most-pressing global problems. How is the corporation failing us, and what steps should we take to restore trust in it? How can we enter into a new way of thinking about the firm, which not only stops it destroying us but turns it into the means of protecting our environment, addressing social problems, and creating new sources of entrepreneurship and innovation?
Colin Mayer, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at the University of Oxford, visits the RSA to expose the sources of these problems – ownership, governance, accountability, transparency and the erosion of citizens’ trust in big business.
The current pre-occupation with shareholder value has been very damaging to the performance of firms, but also to their customers and the communities they should serve. He sets out an ambitious agenda for change and will be challenging corporations, regulators, governments, shareholders and consumers to engage meaningfully with the issues and to commit to transformation.
Speaker: Colin Mayers, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies, the University of Oxford.
Chair: Matthew Taylor, chief exeutive, RSA.