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Title: Berle, the modern corporation and progressive corporate governance
Author: Rasiah, Juanita Kanthini
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 9805
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Fundamental questions about the nature of the modern corporation and how it should be governed continue to preoccupy economists, sociologists, lawyers and management scholars. If we are to provide adequate answers to questions about the nature and governance of the corporation it is imperative to consider closely its historical evolution and transformation and recognise that it constitutes a social institution. This dissertation explores and evaluates the relevant contributions of one author, namely Adolf Augustus Berle, who developed an approach to the corporation and its governance that was profoundly historically sensitive and deeply interdisciplinary. Berle produced numerous contributions over an extended period exploring the nature, evolution and regulation of the corporation. In the contemporary literature his work is often seen narrowly as a precursor to the shareholder primacy doctrine. The argument developed in this thesis is that it is an error that obscures Berle’s current significance to draw too close a connection between his approach and the modern shareholder primacy perspective. It is demonstrated that by considering Berle’s work on the corporation in the context of the contributions of the institutional economists who influenced him and in relation to recent ontologically sophisticated accounts of the corporation the distinctiveness and relevance of his approach can be more effectively identified. This dissertation is divided into three main parts. The first section examines the intellectual connections linking Berle and Thorstein Veblen. It is demonstrated in this part of the dissertation that there are clear and substantial links between Berle and Veblen but also some significant differences in orientation. The second main section of the thesis explores the nature and evolution of the corporation with a focus on Berle’s own writings on these subjects and the recent ontologically informed perspective outlined by Tony Lawson. The final main section of the thesis considers Berle’s views on shareholder primacy and traces out how his thinking developed on this and related matters. This section concludes with some speculations regarding the features that a contemporary corporate governance model inspired by Berle’s work might include.
Supervisor: Pratten, Stephen Bernard ; Edwards, Anthony James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available