Research and impact event – Governance: Firms, Politics, Democracy

Loughborough Business School and the Work and Organisation Group present this special research seminar and discussion hosted by Professor Catherine Casey, Work and Organisation Group, and Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas, Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Loughborough University.

We are pleased to launch Catherine Casey’s new book: Governing the Firm in the Social Interest: Corporate Governance Reimagined (Routledge, New York and London, 2024).

Professor Casey will present a discussion of her book, its key social theoretical arguments, and its usefulness to business and economics researchers and actors.

Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas, IAS Visiting Fellow from New Zealand, hosted by Professor Jo Silvester, Work and Organisation Group, will discuss what academics can learn from engaging with political elites, drawing on their recent experiences of ‘Working with Parliaments’.

The presentations

Catherine Casey, PhD Rochester, New York, is Professor of Organisation and Society, Loughborough Business School. Her book, Governing the Firm in the Social Interest: Corporate Governance Reimagined, addresses questions about the governance of the corporate business enterprise in contemporary liberal market economies. The firm holds immense political, economic and cultural power in society. It mobilizes social and planetary resources to its utility in pursuit of private profit maximization and with little regard for social concerns. Its influence over so much of societal life and effects on the natural environment raise critical questions about the firm and its governance in democratic society. The book offers a social theoretical critique, and social-philosophical theorisation and reimagination of governance in practice.

Critics' reviews:

This is nothing less than a monumental piece of social-scientific scholarship that simply must be read by anyone with a serious interest in corporate governance. Professor Catherine Casey is an outstanding scholar who is equally accomplished in dealing with insights from sociology, political philosophy, organisational theory, economics, management and the law. Here she brings this diverse body of perspectives together to build a compelling and urgent case for reform of long-established ways of thinking about the firm. Above all, this work demonstrates the inherent sociality and rich moral fabric of business organisations, in which work relations form a pivotal and definitive element.

Marc Moore, Chair in Corporate/Financial Law, UCL Faculty of Laws, University College London.

Casey’s critique of the governance of the firm takes us far beyond current law or corporate social responsibility nostrums. This book offers a rich critique of “desocialization” in the neoliberal enterprise, which treats workers as mere contractual suppliers. Invoking a philosophical tradition running from Hegel to the Pragmatists, she offers a compelling and sophisticated theoretical argument for resocialization via the recognition of workers as the moral owners of the firm’s essential productive capacities. Casey’s call widens and deepens our democratic imaginary.

Paul S. Adler, Harold Quinton Chair of Business Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Helena Cooper-Thomas is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand. Her research is predominantly empirical – both quantitative and qualitative – and focuses on development and change in employees’ relationships with each other and their employing organisation, in particular the onboarding and socialisation of new employees. Helena currently serves on the Academy of Management’s Organizational Behavior (OB) Division Executive, and on the New Zealand Royal Society Marsden Panel for Economics and Human Behaviour.

Professor Jo Silvester is Professor of Work Psychology at Loughborough University Business School. Her research examines leadership emergence and effectiveness in complex work environments, focusing particularly on political work. Jo’s work involved leading projects for the Improvement and Development Agency (eg developing a cross-party framework of skills required for government), redesigning procedures for approving prospective parliamentary candidates for both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrat Party. More recently she led a culture change project with the House of Commons identifying core values for the House Service. Jo’s research has been published in Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Relations.

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