11.6 Conclusion

This chapter explains the role of boards of directors in the corporate governance of organizations such as large, publicly traded corporations. Wise boards work to manage the agency problem that creates a conflict of interest between top managers such as the CEO and other groups with a stake in the firm. When boards fail to do their duties, numerous scandals may ensue. Corporate scandals became so widespread that new legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 has been developed with the hope of impeding future actions by executives associated with unethical or illegal behavior. Companies have adopted practices such as ethics and compliance codes and corporate social responsibility activities to improve their accountability to the communities and society they serve. Globally, business activities have lowered poverty rates, but ethical issues remain regarding balancing competing interests on many issues such as offshoring, pollution, sustainability, and economic inequality.


  1. Divide your class into four or eight groups, depending on the size of the class. Each group should select a different industry. Find positive and negative examples of corporate social performance based on the dimensions used by KLD.
  2. This chapter discussed Blake Mycoskie and TOMS Shoes. What other opportunities exist to create new organizations that serve both social and financial goals?


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