Governance of and By Corporations

Caroline Arnold
Session Organizer:
Maha Atal
Sunday, June 26, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
126 Barrows (Barrows Hall)
This session considers the relationship between governance, private corporations and socio-economic development, bringing the core themes of this network to bear on the private sector. Development studies scholars now agree that institutional context, at the local, national or transnational level is a key driver of private sector investment and therefore of economic growth. At the same time, political scientists have found that in the absence of strong state governance - increasingly a feature of both developed and developing countries - corporations will innovate to build their own institutional context. The three papers consider this governance relationships from three perspectives: that of the firm, that of the state and that of the wider society. The first paper examines the impact of corruption in national governments on the performance of firms within a wide range of developing and developed countries; the paper concludes that corruption, in general, has a damaging effect on firm performance and therefore on economic outcomes. In particular, corruption has a gendered effect on firms, and therefore shapes both the economic and the social character of countries where it occurs. The second paper examines the industrial governance efforts of firms in Pakistan and India, in response to the retreat of the state from the provision of governance in these areas; the paper argues both that that firms have been able to provide these norms, but also that the character of their governance differs in critical ways to that provided by states. The third and final paper considers the day-to-day communty governance provided by companies who manage public services in the communities where they operate. The paper argues that such programs serve not only to replace state governance, but to provide firms with an opportunity to advance the moral agendas of their leaders and shape political values in their target communities. Together, these papers suggest that the relationship between corporations and governance must reach beyond the functionalist explanations to take into account its normative sociological dimensions.
Governing Firms: Production after the State
Adnan Naseemullah, King's College London