Corporate Theory and Policy

Catalog No.: 541

Course Description:

This course will pursue an advanced understanding of the nature of the corporate form and its place in contemporary American society. The course will begin with a critical examination of the history of the corporation, with attention given to the economic, political, social, and cultural dynamics implicated in the form’s rise to its current status as the dominant mode of business organization in the United States. The course will then pursue study of dominant, ascendant, and descendant theoretical perspectives on the corporation, including those advanced by law and economics, law and behavioralism, law and society, as well as Marxism and other critical perspectives. Special attention will be given to the present-day public policy implications of each of these competing visions of the corporation in modern society. Topics will include, but are not limited to, theories of the firm and capital markets, the problems and promises of limited liability, corporate governance and the possibilities of shareholder democracy, the shareholder primacy norm and the plausibility of multiple- constituency requirements, and the political rights and influence of corporations in modern society. Prerequiste: 248 Business Organizations; readings will be demanding but will not require specific background in any particular intellectual tradition.