This course is designed for students interested in the controversies and challenges of corporate governance as it attempts to deal with global problems including climate change and the economic and technologic disruption caused by COVID-19. Integrating historical developments and current practices it examines international corporate governance topics that collectively are termed agency theory in modern finance with a focus on issues of diversity inclusion and income inequality in a global economy under historic stress. The formal and informal contracts that bind together shareholders bondholders directors managers employees suppliers customers and communities are explored. The collaborative efforts as well as the potential conflicts of interest of these various constituencies are analyzed in the context of a changing legislative and regulatory environment. This enables us to evaluate the effectiveness of how corporate objectives are determined and achieved in the United States Great Britain Germany and Japan. Selected cases and readings illustrate research findings and highlight key issues in international corporate governance. Class discussions include the practical challenges of corporate decision making and the resulting costs of failures of regulation.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education