Making Corporate Law Great Again: Deconstructing and Identifying Public Interest in and Corporate Theories

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Abstract

Public interest fosters debate in many disciplines, including corporate governance discourses about corporations at the point when what is optimal for society or the greatest good for society is considered. Nevertheless, public interest is rarely given a prominent role in corporate law; this has partly been because there is no definitive objective definition for the notion. Therefore there are contentions that public interest ought to be jettisoned or that it is not fit for purpose. This article examines if a definitive objective
definition of the public interest is required in order for it to be fit for purpose, that is, to serve societal interests. Using a deconstruction approach, various theories on the public interest will be discussed as well as corporate theories to explore how they encapsulate various conceptions of the public interest. This article then argues that corporate theories incorporate tacitly or otherwise, the public interest, and that this is desirable because it could provide alternative ways of addressing corporate governance concerns. It is also added that an objective definition of the public interest is not imperative in order for the notion to be useful, rather a dynamic and flexible definition of the public interest enables corporations to be responsive and responsible for their societal impact, particularly in this era of rapid globalisation.
LanguageEnglish
Pages316-339
Number of pages24
JournalAustralian Journal of Corporate Law.
Volume33
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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public interest
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title = "Making Corporate Law Great Again: Deconstructing and Identifying Public Interest in and Corporate Theories",
abstract = "Public interest fosters debate in many disciplines, including corporate governance discourses about corporations at the point when what is optimal for society or the greatest good for society is considered. Nevertheless, public interest is rarely given a prominent role in corporate law; this has partly been because there is no definitive objective definition for the notion. Therefore there are contentions that public interest ought to be jettisoned or that it is not fit for purpose. This article examines if a definitive objectivedefinition of the public interest is required in order for it to be fit for purpose, that is, to serve societal interests. Using a deconstruction approach, various theories on the public interest will be discussed as well as corporate theories to explore how they encapsulate various conceptions of the public interest. This article then argues that corporate theories incorporate tacitly or otherwise, the public interest, and that this is desirable because it could provide alternative ways of addressing corporate governance concerns. It is also added that an objective definition of the public interest is not imperative in order for the notion to be useful, rather a dynamic and flexible definition of the public interest enables corporations to be responsive and responsible for their societal impact, particularly in this era of rapid globalisation.",
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