Edited by Andreas Nölke and Christian May
This chapter provides an introduction to the literature on interlocking directorates and corporate networks. It first traces the historical roots of the field back to the early twentieth century, when researchers on both sides of the Atlantic started expressing concern about the threat to democratic process posed by the emergent corporate form, the potential for collusion allowed by the growing practice of interlocking directorate, and the general concentration of power in the hands of large firms and banks. It then outlines the major theoretical approaches employed, that focus on the corporate network as a set of both interorganizational and interindividual relationships. Third, it summarizes the main findings on the cohesiveness of the corporate community, the hegemonic position of banks, and historical changes and longitudinal dynamics of the network. Finally, it discusses the most recent debates on globalization, the emergence of a European corporate network, and the decline and recomposition of the corporate community.
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