The Nature of Corporate Governance

The Nature of Corporate Governance

The Significance of National Cultural Identity

Corporations, Globalisation and the Law series

Janet Dine

This book presents a thoughtful inquiry into the nature and rationale of corporate governance. The authors address fundamental questions including; What is the balance between ownership and control?; For whose interests should the company be run?; What is the institutional balance between shareholders, directors and other potential stakeholders, including the economy?

Chapter 3: The United States of America

Janet Dine

Subjects: law - academic, corporate law and governance


The corporation is not an organisation which developed independently of the society that gave birth to it. The company and its governance are not issues of a purely legal or legalistic nature but they constitute complex social phenomena which genuinely reflect the values prevailing in the society within the framework of which they evolved. Different countries have shaped different forms of corporate governance which embody their historical experiences, the balance of power between divergent and sometimes conflicting actors and certainly their prevailing societal and cultural values. The ideological character of the individual systems of corporate governance usually derives from the same ideological roots and set of principles that define that society as a whole. Corporate govern- ance and the corporation itself are not social or legal phenomena that can possibly be viewed and analysed as if they shared no links with the cultural, societal and legal environment within which they effectively developed through time. Law in general tends to reflect the basic list of values and principles that form the priorities of a given society at a certain historical moment. Law as a historical phenomenon has evolved together with the societies that it was meant to serve. Similarly, no societal institutions, either public or private in nature, can be viewed in isolation of the nation that constructed them, the interests and the needs they were founded to serve and of course the set of values that they were designed to adhere to.

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