Democratizing Corporate Governance: Compensating for the democratic deficit of corporate political activity and corporate citizenship
paper presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, August 12-16 2011, San Antonio (Texas).
In this paper we address the democratic deficit that emerges when private corporations engage with public policy, either by providing citizenship rights and global public goods (corporate citizenship) or by influencing the political system and lobbying for their economic interests (strategic corporate political activities). This democratic deficit is significant, especially when multinational corporations operate in locations where national governance mechanisms are weak or even fail, where the rule of law is absent and there is a lack of democratic control. This may lead to a decline in the social acceptance of the business firm and its corporate political activities and, thus, to a loss of corporate legitimacy. Under these conditions corporations may compensate the emerging democratic deficit and reestablish their legitimacy by internalizing democratic mechanisms within their organizations, in particular in their corporate governance structures and procedures. We analyze the available corporate governance models with the help of a typology and discuss the possible contributions of a new form of democratic corporate governance.