Corporations were originally established with clear public purposes. It is only over the last half century that corporate purpose has come to be equated solely with profit. This has been damaging for corporations’ role in society, trust in business and the impact that business has had on the environment, inequality and social cohesion.
The Future of the Corporation Phase 1: Developing a new framework for business
Phase 1 of the Future of the Corporation programme commissioned 13 research projects that provided an evidence base for the "Reforming business for the 21st century" report which sets out a new framework to reconceptualise the corporation around purpose, trustworthiness and culture, along with five levers to bring about this change.
The Future of the Corporation programme has now concluded its first phase which gathered existing evidence, developed fresh thinking and identified gaps in research. The findings are set out in the report and research summaries below, with full research papers available in the Journal of the British Academy Issue 6 (supplementary edition).
The first phase has set out a new framework for the future of the corporation around three interconnected principles: well-defined and aligned purposes, a commitment to trustworthiness and an enabling culture. Alongside these, the research has honed in on five levers for change. These levers provide a starting point for the second phase of the programme which will examine detailed policy proposals with a view to identifying clear pathways to bring about the change to the new framework and will gather new empirical data and further new thinking.
Read the Reforming Business for the 21st Century report that synthesises the research, highlighting the case for change to the current conception of the corporation.
Read the Future of the Corporation Research Summaries of each research paper along with an introductory paper from Professor Colin Mayer, the Academic Lead
Or read the report on Medium and share your responses and thoughts:
For further information please contact the Project Manager on FOTC@thebritishacademy.ac.uk
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13 groups of academics were commissioned by the British Academy Future of the Corporation programme to conduct research into the ten themes identified by the programme as critical to the future relationship between business and society. The resulting research papers are each summarised in this booklet alongside an introduction from Professor Colin Mayer CBE FBA, the programme's Academic Lead.
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.
Our work spans issues across public policy, skills, education and research. From reports to small meetings, the British Academy provides a forum for examining issues at the heart of society and the economy.