Globalization and the political role of the firm: implications for corporate governance
paper presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for Business Ethics, 11-14 August 2011, San Antonio (Texas).
Corporate governance practice is mainly centered on the protection of investors’ rights. How-ever, this view neglects the fundamental changes in the operating conditions of business due to globalization and the weakening of regulatory frameworks. Weak or absent enforcement of contracts, increasingly unfettered negative externalities of corporate action, and involvement of private actors in the provision of public goods change the role of business in a fundamental way, rendering it a political actor. Resulting in the extension of corporate power these devel-opments challenge the very assumptions of efficiency based corporate governance theory. Re-current misuse of power poses a threat to organizational legitimacy. Drawing on suggestions to restore organizational legitimacy by means of discursive processes, we argue that opening cor-porate governance to such processes is a suitable means to safeguard organizational legitimacy in a globalized world.