Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-q9r9l Total loading time: 0.512 Render date: 2022-07-04T06:48:46.054Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

The Evolution of Corporate Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 December 2020

Bob Tricker
University of Oxford


In this Element the origins of corporate governance are reviewed, recognising that corporate entities have always been governed, that important developments took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the huge significance of the invention of the joint-stock limited liability company. The development of corporate governance in the twentieth century around the world is explored, with complex groups, private companies, and top management dominating shareholder power appearing in the Inter-war years. Some unresolved issues in both principle and practice are identified. Various theories of corporate governance are described and contrasted. The subject is seen to be in search of its paradigm and a systems theoretical relationship between the theories is suggested. The need to rethink the concept of the limited liability company is argued, and a call is made for the development of a philosophy of corporate governance.
Get access
Online ISBN: 9781108974653
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication: 07 January 2021
© Bob Tricker 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Accounting Standards Steering Committee (1975) The Corporate Report. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, London.Google Scholar
Ansoff, H. Igor (1969) Business Strategy. Penguin, London.Google Scholar
Auerbach, Norman, E. (1973) Audit committees, a new corporate institution. Financial Executive, September, 96–7,102, 104.Google Scholar
Barney, Jay B. and Hesterly, William S. (2008) Strategic Management and Competitive Advantages. Pearson, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.Google Scholar
Baysinger, Barry D. and Butler, Henry N. (1985) Corporate governance and the board of directors: performance effects of changes in board composition. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 1(1, Spring), 101–24.Google Scholar
Berle, Adolf A. and Means, Gardiner C. (1932) The Modern Corporation and Private Property. Macmillan, rev. by Adolf Berle (1967) Columbia University, Harcourt, Brace and World, New York.Google Scholar
Blair, M. M. and Stout, L. (1999) A team production theory of corporate law. Virginia Law Review, 85, 247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blair, M. M. and Stout, L. (2001a) Director accountability and the mediating role of the corporate board. Washington University Law Quarterly, 79, 403.Google Scholar
Blair, Margaret and Stout, Lynn (2001b) Trust, trustworthiness and the behavioural foundations of corporate law. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 149, 1735–810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bullock, Alan (1977) Report of the Committee of Inquiry on Industrial Democracy. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London.Google Scholar
Roundtable, Business (2019) Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. Business Roundtable, Washington, DC. Scholar
Cadbury, Sir Adrian (1992) The Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance: a Report of the Committee on Corporate Governance. Gee & Co., London.Google Scholar
Carver, John (2010) A case for global governance theory. Practitioners avoid it, academics narrow it, the world needs it. Corporate Governance – An International Review, 18(2), 149–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clarke, Thomas (1992) The business descent of Robert Maxwell. Media Culture and Society, Sage, London, 14(May), 463–73.Google Scholar
Clarke, Thomas (1993) Case study: Robert Maxwell: Master of corporate malfeasance. Corporate Governance: an International Review, 1(3), 141–51.Google Scholar
Clarke, Thomas (2016) The widening scope of director’s duties: the increasing impact of corporate social and environmental responsibility. Seattle University Law Review, 39, 557602.Google Scholar
Clarke, Thomas (2017) International Corporate Governance: a Comparative Approach, 2nd ed. Routledge, London and New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clarke, Thomas and Monkhouse, Elaine (1994) Rethinking the Company. Financial Times-Pitman, London.Google Scholar
Clarke, T., O’Brien, J. and O’Kelley, C. (2019) The Oxford Handbook of the Corporation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Coase, Ronald H. (1937) The nature of the firm. Economica, 4(Nov), 386405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cochran, Philip L. and Wartick, Steven L. (1988) Corporate Governance: a Review of the Literature. Financial Executives Research Foundation, Morristown.Google Scholar
Committee of Inquiry on Industrial Democracy (The Bullock Report) (1977) Hansard 23 February, Vol. 380 cc179–355, Hansard, London.Google Scholar
Commonwealth Association for Corporate Governance (November, 1999) CACG Guidelines: Principles for Corporate Governance in the Commonwealth. CACG, New Zealand.Google Scholar
Companies Act, VICT. CAP.LXXXIX (7 August 1862) An Act for the Incorporation, Regulation, and Winding-up of Trading Companies and other AssociationsGoogle Scholar
Confederation of British Industry (1973) The Responsibilities of the British Public Company: Final Report of the Company Affairs Committee. CBI, London.Google Scholar
Corporate Governance – An International Review (1993) Volume 1, Number 1, January. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.Google Scholar
Dawkins, Richard (1998) The Selfish Gene, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Demb, Ada and Neubauer, Frederich (1992) The Corporate Board: Confronting the Paradoxes. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) PUBLIC LAW 111–203 July 21, Scholar
Drucker, Peter F. (1967) The Effective Executive. Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
Fama, Eugene and Jensen, Michael (1983) Separation of ownership and control. Journal of Law and Economics, 26(June), 301–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Filatotchev, Igor and Wright, Mike (eds.) (2005) The Life Cycle of Corporate Governance. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA.Google Scholar
Fogarty, Michael P. (1975) Company Responsibility and Participation: a New Agenda. PEP Broadsheet Number 554, Volume XLI, August, London.Google Scholar
Fox, E. M. and Urwick, L. (eds.) (1940) Dynamic Administration: the Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett. Pitman Publishing, London.Google Scholar
Freedeman, Charles E. (1979) Joint-Stock Enterprise in France 1807–1867 – From Privileged Company to Modern Corporation. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC.Google Scholar
Frentrop, P. (2019) The Dutch East India Company: the First Corporate Governance Debacle, in Clarke, T, O’Brien, J and O’Kelley, C, The Oxford Handbook of the Corporation. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 5174.Google Scholar
Friedman, Lawrence M. (1973) A History of American Law. Simon and Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
Friedman, Milton (1970) The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine, 13 September.Google Scholar
Kirkpatrick, Grant (2008) Financial Market Trends (Corporate Governance and the Financial Crisis: Key Findings and Main Messages). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris.Google Scholar
Hilmer, Frederick G. (1993) Strictly Boardroom – Improving Governance to Enhance Business Performance. Business Library Scholar
Jensen, Michael A. (2000) A Theory of the Firm: Governance, Residual Claims and Organizational Forms. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
Jensen, Michael C. and Meckling, William H. (1976) Theory of the firm: managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. Journal of Financial Economics, 3(4, Oct), 305–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Judge, William (2010) Thomas Kuhn and corporate governance research. Corporate Governance – An International Review, 18(2), 85–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kelly, G. A. ([1955] 1963) The Psychology of Personal Constructs (A Theory of Personality). Norton, New York.Google Scholar
Langley, A. (1999) Strategies for theorizing from process data. Academy of Management Review, 24(4), 691710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langley, A. (2007) Process thinking in strategic organizations. Strategic Organization, 5(3), 271–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Act, Limited Liability, 1855 VICT. a. 183, London.Google Scholar
Lorsch, J. W. and McIver, E. (1989) Pawns or Potentates: the Reality of America’s Corporate Boards. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
McWilliams, Abagail and Siegal, Donald (2001) Corporate social responsibility: a theory of the firm perspective. The Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mace, Myles L. (1971) Directors: Myth and Reality. Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
Mautz, R. K. and Neumann, F. L. (1970) The effective corporate audit committee. Harvard Business Review, Nov./Dec.Google Scholar
Mautz, R. K. and Neumann, F. L. (1977) Corporate Audit Committees: Policies and Practices. Ernst and Ernst, New York.Google Scholar
Means, Gardiner C. (1932) The Modern Corporation and Private Property. Macmillan, London, rev. by Adolf Berle (1967) Columbia University, Harcourt, Brace and World, New York.Google Scholar
Mintzberg, Henry (1984) Who should control the corporation?California Management Review, October 1, 90115.Google Scholar
Monks, Robert A. G. (2008) Corpocracy: How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World’s Greatest Wealth Machine. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.Google Scholar
Monks, Robert A. G. and Minow, Nell ([1995] 2011) Corporate Governance, 4th ed. Wiley, Chichester, UK.Google Scholar
NACD Report of the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Director Professionalism (2002) The National Association of Corporate Directors, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
Nader, Ralph, Green, Mark and Seligman, Joel (1976) Taming the Giant Corporation. W.W. Norton Co., Inc., New York.Google Scholar
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1999) Principles of Corporate Governance. OECD, Paris.Google Scholar
Pettigrew, A. M. (1979) On studying organizational cultures. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(4), 570–81.Google Scholar
Pettigrew, Andrew (1992) On studying managerial elites. Strategic Management Journal, 13(2), 163–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pettigrew, A. M. (1997) What is processual analysis? Scandinavian Journal of Management, 13(4), 337–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pfeffer, Jeffrey (1992) Size and composition of corporate boards of directors: the organization and its environment.Administrative Science Quarterly, 17, 218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Porter, Michael (1980) Competitive Strategy. Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
Redding, S. Gordon (1993) The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism, Walter de Gruyter Studies in Organisation, Berlin and New York.Google Scholar
Roe, Mark J. (2003) Political Determinants of Corporate Governance, Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies Series. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Schwartz, Robert (1986) Martin Luther – An Introduction to His Life and Work. Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN.Google Scholar
Securities Exchange Act USA (1934) Pub.L.73–291, 48 Stat. 881; also called the Exchange Act ’34 or 1934 Act; incorporated into the listing rules of the New York Stock Exchange, and published by them, 1934.Google Scholar
Seki, Takaya and Clarke, Thomas (2014) The evolution of corporate governance in Japan: the continuing relevance of Berle and Means. Seattle University Law Review, 37(2), 717–47.Google Scholar
Shleifer, A. and Vishny, R. (1997) A survey of corporate governance. Journal of Finance, 52(2, June), 737–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Small, Marshall L. (2011) The 1970s: the committee on corporate laws joins the corporate governance debate. The Model Business Corporation Act at Sixty Law and Contemporary Problems, 74(Winter), 129–36. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USAGoogle Scholar
Smith, Adam (1776; 1976) The Wealth of Nations, rev. edn., Stigler, George J. (ed.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
Stern, Philip (2019) English East India Company-State and the Modern Corporation: the Google of its Time?, in T. Clarke, O’Brien, J and O’Kelley, C, The Oxford Handbook of the Corporation. OUP, 75–92.Google Scholar
Stiles, P. and Taylor, B. (2001) Boards at Work: How Directors View Their Roles and Responsibilities. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Stout, L. (2012) The Shareholder Value Myth. Cornell Law Library Scholar
Tricker, R. I. (1978) The Independent Director: a Study of the Non-executive Director and of the Audit Committee. Tolley with Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, London.Google Scholar
Tricker, R. I. (1984) Corporate Governance – Practices, Procedures and Powers in British Companies and Their Boards Of Directors. Gower, London.Google Scholar
Tricker, Bob (2009, 4th ed. 2019) Corporate Governance – Principles, Policies, and Practices. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
Tricker, Bob (2011) Re-inventing the limited liability company. Corporate Governance – An International Review, 19(4, July), 384–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tricker, Bob and Gregg, Li (2019) Understanding Corporate Governance in China. Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong.Google Scholar
Tricker, Bob and Tricker, Gretchen (2014) Business Ethic – A Stakeholder, Risk, and Governance Approach. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Turnbull, Shann (1997) Stakeholder governance: a cybernetic and property rights analysis in corporate governance. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 5(1, Jan.), 1123 (also in Tricker, R. I. (ed.) (2000) Corporate Governance – The History of Management Thought series, Ashgate Publishing, London.Google Scholar
Williamson, Oliver E. (1975) Markets and Hierarchy. Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
Williamson, Oliver E. (1988) The logic of economic organization. Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 4(Spring), 6593.Google Scholar
Zinkin, John (2019) Better Governance across the Board – creating value through reputation, people and processes. The Alexandra Lajoux Corporate Government Series, De Gruyter.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save element to Kindle

To save this element to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Evolution of Corporate Governance
  • Bob Tricker, University of Oxford
  • Online ISBN: 9781108974653
Available formats

Save element to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The Evolution of Corporate Governance
  • Bob Tricker, University of Oxford
  • Online ISBN: 9781108974653
Available formats

Save element to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The Evolution of Corporate Governance
  • Bob Tricker, University of Oxford
  • Online ISBN: 9781108974653
Available formats