Philosophical Underpinnings to Corporate Governance: A Collibrational Approach

  • Steve Letza
  • Clive Smallman
  • Xiuping Sun
  • James Kirkbride
Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP, volume 39)


The current debate on corporate governance can be characterised as a search for the perfect model. The academic discourse is polarised either on the shareholder paradigm, where the primary focus is on maximisation of shareholder wealth, or on the stakeholder paradigm, where a broader set of issues are presented as pertinent to best practice corporate governance. In the practitioner discourse, the debate is fundamentally focused on practical mechanisms to discipline directors and other actors where the emphasis is on developing regulation either in the form of law or codes. We argue that both discourses rely on a homeostatic view of the corporation and its governance structures. Further, we argue that both discourses pay inadequate attention to the underlying philosophical presuppositions resulting in a static approach to the understanding of corporate governance. We present an alternative, a processual approach, as a means of avoiding the traditional trap in corporate governance theorising. Using this approach, we argue that a collibrated mechanism is more likely to emerge and consequently a better understanding of the heterogeneity of corporate governance practice will follow, providing deeper insight into the fluxing nature of corporate bodies and their governance structures.


Corporate Governance Governance Structure Stakeholder Theory Stakeholder Management Stakeholder Perspective 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author is grateful for comments made by reviewers and those in attendance at the conferences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Letza
    • 1
  • Clive Smallman
    • 2
  • Xiuping Sun
    • 3
  • James Kirkbride
    • 4
  1. 1.European Centre for Corporate GovernanceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.School of Management, University of Western SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Leeds Business School, Leeds Metropolitan UniversityLeedsUK
  4. 4.London School of Business and FinanceLondonUK

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