Cynthia A. Williams
Corporate social responsibility is a subject of growing importance in business and law. Today, no analysis of corporate governance systems would be complete without considering the pressures on companies to be seen as responsible corporate citizens. This chapter provides a descriptive overview of developments in the field, including increasing voluntary and required environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure; and proliferating voluntary and multilateral standards for responsible corporate behavior. It reviews some of the more significant empirical evidence on the financial results of companies’ implementation of corporate responsibility initiatives, including the effects of such initiatives on innovation, trust, and social welfare. It concludes with an analysis relating these developments to arguments about the objectives of the corporation and the shareholder/stakeholder debate—with particular reference to the argument between Cornell Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law, Lynn A. Stout, and Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, Leo E. Strine, Jr.
Amir N. Licht
This chapter explores the relationship between culture and law, especially corporate law, and its implications for corporate governance. It begins with an overview of the basic concepts in cultural analysis as well as prevalent theories of cultural dimensions and of social networks as social capital. It then summarizes research findings regarding the consequences of culture for corporate governance on issues ranging from executive compensation to legal transplants and the objectives of the corporation (corporate social responsibility). It also discusses relations with investors and other stakeholders by way of disclosure and dividend distribution, along with the operation, composition, and network structure of the board of directors. Finally, the chapter considers how the relationship between culture and law affects diversity and persistence in corporate governance.