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About The Future of the Corporation

About The Future of the Corporation

The Future of the Corporation is a major research and public engagement programme aiming to develop an evidence base that will serve as a foundation to redefine business for the 21st century and build trust between business and society.

Business and managementPhilosophyLawEconomicsAnthropologyHistory • Henry Richards

The Future of the Corporation is a major project initiated by Professor Colin Mayer, which expands on his 2015 Sir John Cass Foundation lecture entitled 'Reinventing the Corporation'.

Business is a global force contributing to the development and prosperity of our society. But is the corporation adequately equipped and structured to deal with the challenges of our future?  How can it make our society better, and more prosperous for everyone?  The Future of the Corporation programme is engaging a range of business, government, policy, and academic stakeholders to examine a range of the most challenging questions facing business. 

The British Academy hosts the programme.  It is a non-political, independent institution that brings academics together across the disciplines of economics, business studies, psychology, political science, law, philosophy and history.  The Academy is uniquely able to access this knowledge and convene business people in a global business centre – London.  The programme is privately funded and will run until 2020.


The programme has three elements:

  1. Research: in the first phase, 13 research groups are producing research addressing ten themes
  2. Engagement: since the beginning of 2017, the programme has engaged around 500 academics, business leaders and policy makers in key questions facing business.  The engagement feeds into the research and will act as a means of disseminating the research findings.
  3. Partnership: the programme is working with a wide range of academic institutions, businesses and think tanks to ensure that this programme is a collaborative effort.

Outputs and Objectives

The main output of the programme will be its research, published in two phases.  However, the British Academy and Professor Mayer have set out from the start to ensure that the research is relevant to business leaders and policy makers.  The regular engagement and partnerships created through the programme are serving to ensure that the research will be widely considered and used. 

Our ultimate aim, therefore to see the research used to influence changes and developments in three areas:

  1. Business Education: the way that business is taught in academic institutions and the way future business leaders see business
  2. Business Practice: the way that business interprets policy and academic thinking and puts it into practice and the cultures and norms that business operate under
  3. Public Policy: the good practices, agreements, codes of conduct, standards, regulations and laws that set out the framework for business to operate

The programme has already gained great traction and begun to engage senior business leaders and policy makers in discussions on some key issues and will continue to do so over the full three years of the programme. 

Quick Facts:

The research programme is now well underway and we anticipate publication of the first phase of research in the Autum, 2018.  13 research groups have been commissioned to study ten themes: history, trust, corporate purpose, corporate culture, technology, corporate governance, long-term investment, ownership, law, taxation and regulation, and social benefit.

A wider group of 70 academics and practitioners have been engaged in honing the focus of the research.

The Corporate Advisory Group, consisting of 25 business leaders, has met quarterly since the beginning of 2017 and contributes its expertise and advice to ensure a live connection with business that grounds the research in real-world challenges.

A series of breakfast briefings and events - 11 since the start of 2017 - have attracted significant interest from the business community, academics and policy-makers.  Reports and briefings arising from these are available on this site.  

More information:

For more information on the project, contact Henry Richards, Project Manager, on or 020 7969 5263, or Professor Colin Mayer, Academic Lead, on

To receive updates on the project please register your details

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