Lunchtime Seminar Series with Professor Peer Zumbansen

4 June 2009

The evolution of the corporation: Organisation, finance, knowledge and corporate social responsibility

About the speaker

Professor Peer Zumbansen has been the Canada Research Chair in the Transnational and Comparative Law of Corporate Governance at Osgoode since July 1, 2004. Prior to joining the faculty, he researched and taught at the University of Frankfurt and spent the academic year 2001-02 as a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy ( ). He has also held Visiting Professorships at the University of Idaho College of Law and at Osgoode.

His current research in private law focuses on corporate governance, comparative company law and the implications of different political economies in shaping the 'constitution of the firm'.

About the presentation

The evolution of the corporation: organsiation, finance, knowledge and corporate social responsibility.

Professor Zumbansen will present his research, which selectively focuses on the contested concept of Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] andforms part of a larger research project on the evolution of corporate governance. The research posits the evolution of corporate governance along three historical paradigms: first, the economic/industrial organisation paradigm, second, the financial paradigm, and third, the knowledge paradigm.

With regard to CSR, Professor Zumbansen will explore the promises and shortcomings of the concept against the background of an evolutionary theory of corporate governance. The identification of three historical-conceptual paradigms allows us to trace the development of the relation between a general discourse on corporate governance regulation [CGR] on the one hand and a more specialised, often polemic debate over corporate (social, environmental, human rights) responsibilities on the other.

On the basis of the review of the three paradigms of CSR over the course of more than one hundred years, Professor Zumbansen concludes that there is no convincing justification to separate the general Corporate Governance from the more specific CSR discourse when assessing the nature of the corporation. Instead,he argues that a more adequate understanding of what defines a corporation is gained when capturing its embedded nature in a continuously changing domestic, global and functional environment. Besides being both a legal fiction and an economic actor, the business corporation is assuming a host of other roles in a functionally differentiated global society. Professor Zumbansen suggests that the generation and dissemination of knowledge, both internally and externally, has become the defining feature of the firm. The corporation as a knowledge actor succeeds the prior stages of assessing it as a private, political or financial actor, without however erasing these dimensions of the firm. In that, the history of the corporation - as concept and reality - shares important features with that of the state - as concept and as fact.

Please Register Online.

This seminar is part of the Ross Parsons Corporate and Commercial Series for 2009. For detailsplease viewseries brochure, click here.

Time: Light lunch 12:30pm - 1:00pm; Seminar 1:00pm - 2.00pm

Location: Sydney Law School, Building F10, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Cost: Entry is free but registration is essential

Contact: Events Coordinator

Phone: 9351 0238

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