The Corporate Governance branch of the Social Trends Institute seeks to contribute to the analysis of the changes taking place in the governance of the business corporation. STI recognizes the enormous contribution that business organizations make toward the socio-economic development of communities around the world. Thus, the Corporate Governance branch seeks to encourage updated business models based on a commitment to creating wealth in ways that are compatible with people's personal and professional development and with society's needs.
The Social Trends Institute, through its members and partners, has links to important business institutions, such as the Strategic Management Society (SMS), the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), IESE Business School, Warwick Business School (WBS), the Center for Business in Society (CBS) and others. The Corporate Governance branch thus has a unique opportunity to partner with renowned business professors and professionals. STI especially welcomes projects that focus on business ethics and corporate responsibility.
To date, STI's Corporate Governance branch has held the following Experts Meetings:
The Financial Crisis Revisited
Under the direction of Princeton University's Harold James and The Acton Institute's Samuel Gregg, the Social Trends Institute, in collaboration with the Witherspoon Institute
and the European University Institute
, held a two-day consultation at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy from May 6-8, 2010. Responsible professionals, philosophers, historians, journalists, financiers, and business executives assembled to shed light on the foundation and the interconnected nature of the current financial and economic crisis.
The Responsible Corporation in a Global Economy
Held at Warwick Business School and hosted by Professor Colin Crouch in March 2009, this Experts Meeting focused on questions related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Drawing on scholars and practitioners from many different viewpoints, the meeting addressed questions like: Can CSR be regarded as an important contributor to public policy? What issues are raised by CSR for international organizations and corporations? Can the term "corporate citizenship" be correctly applied to CSR activities?
Oxford University Press has published the presentations in the volume The Responsible Corporation in a Global Economy.
Rethinking Business Management
An experts meeting entitled Rethinking Business Management was held on May 17-19, 2007 in Princeton, New Jersey. The meeting was sponsored by STI along with The Clayton Fund, The Philadelphia Trust Company, and Princeton University's Bendheim Center for Finance, and organized by the Witherspoon Institute. The meeting examined experiences of business school education in light of social and ethical responsibilities. The thesis presented for discussion at the conference was that effective management is grounded both on good business science and on robust ethical and anthropological conceptions of human flourishing.
The conference resulted in a publication on the foundations of management originally titled Rethinking Business Management: Examining the Foundations of Business Education, and subsequently reprinted as Profit, Prudence and Virtue - Essays in Ethics, Business and Management. It is hoped this line of thought may encourage re-examination of business school curricula.
Faith and Economics
An Experts Meeting on Faith and Economics took place on March 18-19, 2007 at the European University Institute in Florence. The meeting, co-sponsored and organized by the Witherspoon Institute, analyzed the widespread view that the practice of economics has become technocratic and detached from commitments to broader ethical, moral and religious values. The meeting advanced from two premises: first, that mankind’s spiritual and practical developments cannot be separated from each other; and second, that spiritual poverty engenders social and economic fragmentation and erosion. Four prominent international economic policy-makers – Anwar Ibrahim, Michel Camdessus, Emma Rothschild and Amartya Sen – explored the relationship between faith, economic and distributional justice, and policy applications. The discussions were moderated by Princeton University professor Harold James and James Boughton, from the International Monetary Fund.
The meeting dealt with questions such as: Has policy-making become too technocratic and too separated from the awareness of the dignity of an individual? What kinds of conceptions of freedom help to form a just approach to policy questions? What links can be established – or debunked – between poverty and spiritual condition?
Ethics, Families, Entrepreneurship and the Corporation
In partnership with The Witherspoon Institute, STI hosted a conference in Princeton from March 9-11, 2006. The conference was in honor of the late Peter T. Bauer, whose contributions to the public dialogue about economics and economic policy-making were unmatched. As a professor of economics at the London School of Economics, he shifted public discussion from macro-economic Keynesian approaches to a concrete look at the micro-economic preconditions for success. Peter Bauer was especially worried about the way in which state planners subverted and destroyed traditional institutions which were actually essential to the smooth functioning of a market. One of the most obvious of these foundations was the family, and Peter Bauer devoted a considerable part of his analysis to these problems.
Directed by Princeton University professor Harold James, the conference aimed to study how the family has played, does play and will continue to play a decisive role in the history of capitalism.