Moving Toward Democracy

Andrea Bonime-Blanc and Mark Brzezinski, writing for the NYTimes (Business and the Way of Democracy, 12/26/09) argue “Much like transitions to democracy over the past four decades transformed governments from mostly authoritarian to mostly democratic, we are currently witnessing a transformation of global corporations from a more or less opaque shareholder-centric model to a more transparent multi-stakeholder model.”

According to Bonime-Blanc and Brzezinski, companies are embracing five trends:

  1. Adopting better governance with stronger shareholder rights, board rules, director accountability and pay for performance.
  2. Integrating corporate integrity programs into business strategy and leadership development.
  3. Pursuing dialogue with multiple and increasingly vocal stakeholders.
  4. Engaging proactively with regulators intent on trans-border cooperation and enforcement (especially regarding anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, antitrust and anti-fraud).
  5. Catering to two critical constituents — employees and customers — who have shown greater willingness, and ability, to “vote with their feet.


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