Monday, 19 November 2007

Political Power & Corporate Control

A very brief plug for a book I'm currently reading - Political Power & Corporate Control - The New Global Politics of Corporate Governance. I think this could become quite a big deal as a governance book as it stresses the primacy of politics in emergence of governance systems in various countries, rather than accepting the idea that their is an 'optimal' governance framework that all firms will ultimately move towards.

Interestingly it suggests that the three main actors in the tussle over governance are company managers, owners (as in shareholders) and workers. Given that most discussions of governance in the investment world in the UK tend to ignore the role of workers (even though they are clearly play such a big role in systems such as co-determination) this is very welcome indeed. The books suggests that in different countries different coalitions form. It's not always managers and owners versus workers.

From a quick skim I would suggest that the analysis points up the need for labour in the Anglo-Saxon economies to a) work with owners (though I would argue that they are often the same people ultimately) and b) properly understand corporate governance as a political battle over the nature of the firm.

One minor criticism - the stuff on the UK looks a bit thin and doesn't seem to refer to the role played by local government funds in pushing for governance reforms, although it does mention their US counterparts like CalPERS. But's that a minor gripe so far.

I will post up a full review once I have finished it, but I think it might be a good xmas gift for capital stewards!

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