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The Future of the Corporation Phase 1: Developing a new framework for business

Over the last half-century, corporate purpose has come to be equated solely with profit. This has been damaging for corporations’ relationship with society.

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.

Reforming Business for the 21st Century Future of the Corporation: Research Summaries


Reforming Business for the 21st Century synthesises the research, highlighting the case for change to the current conception of the corporation.

Future of the Corporation: Research Summaries is a precis of the research papers, with an introductory paper from Professor Colin Mayer, the Academic Lead

For further information please contact the Project Manager on 

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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.


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.

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