Communitarian perspectives on corporate governance
Research into corporate governance is currently oriented towards understanding how governors control the governed through contractual relationships, economic decision making and control over cultural values. These theories, however, were unable to provide satisfactory explanations for the empirical data discovered during this study. It became necessary to consider gendered aspirations, sexuality and emotional needs to explain both social organisation and hierarchy development. Data from an 18-month critical ethnography was used to develop grounded theories on interpersonal dynamics, culture development and corporate governance. Micro analysis of journals, letters, e-mails, documents and interview transcripts were assisted by computer software. However, freehand sketching proved an equally valuable method for evolving theoretical ideas. Theory was developed using two comparison cases: one empirical; the other based on an academic literature supported by a field visit. This thesis develops theory that courtship, friendship, marriage and childraising influence the early development of a corporate governance system. They continue to exercise influence even when in contradiction with control systems imposed by external institutions. This prompts a re-examination of theories of power so that the nature and role of intimacy at work can be accommodated. The study finds that decision-making is underpinned by a dual desire for attention (social rationality) and assistance (economic rationality). The fusion between the two is sharpest immediately before and after childbirth resulting in a multitude of gendered behaviours that influence workplace aspirations and social organisation. “Self interest” depends on perceptions of others’ intent towards the people we care for and desire. “Common good” depends on which social groups and behaviours we believe should be promoted within a culture. Communitarian perspectives on corporate governance, therefore, reflect the social aspirations of entrepreneurs, attitudes towards unitarist and democratic organisation, and organisation members’ constant struggle to balance social and economic interests. Contributions are made to the application of grounded theory in critical ethnography and ethical dilemmas during participant observation.