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Article

Access_open Corporate Governance and the Great Recession

An Alternative Explanation for Germany's Success in the Post-2008 World

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2014
Keywords Great Recession, Germany, corporate governance, institutional complementarity, EMU
Authors Pavlos E. Masouros
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ability of a nation to resist a crisis depends on the institutional or spatio-temporal fixes it possesses, which can buffer the effects of the crisis, switch the crisis to other nations or defer its effects to the future. Corporate governance configurations in a given country can function as institutional or spatio-temporal fixes provided they are positioned within an appropriate institutional environment that can give rise to beneficial complementarities.
    Germany seems to resist most effectively compared with other nations (be it nations of the insider or the outsider model of corporate governance) the effects of the post-2008 crisis. This article posits that this is due to an institutional complementarity between Germany's corporate governance system, its system of industrial relations and the monetary institutions of the European Monetary Union. The advent of shareholder value has blended in a beneficial way with an established system of cooperative collective bargaining, with traditional stakeholderist institutions, but also with the asymmetrical design of the EMU that benefits trade surplus countries, and this institutional complementarity has endowed Germany with a comparative advantage over other nations (particularly EU Member States) to pursue its export-led growth strategy and emerge as a champion economy amidst the crisis.


Pavlos E. Masouros
Assistant Professor of Corporate Law, Leiden University, The Netherlands; Attorney-at-Law, Athens, Greece.
Article

Access_open The Opacity of a Multinational Company’s Organization, Legal Structure and Power

What Type of Corporate Information Must a Multinational Company Make Public Pursuant to Dutch Law? Options for Improving Dutch Law: Better Access to Corporate Information for Stakeholders

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 3 2013
Keywords transparency, CSR disclosure, corporate legal structure, legal framework for corporate reporting, integrated reporting
Authors Tineke E. Lambooy, Rosalien A. Diepeveen, Kim Nguyen e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article describes the types of information that a multinational company must make public pursuant to Book 2 of the Dutch Civil Code, the Act on Financial Supervision and the Commercial Registers Act. We ascertain that: (i) the Dutch Trade Register fails in providing adequate information about the foreign parts of a group; (ii) the annual reporting laws fail to require companies to provide an insight in the group legal structure, the business organization and the corporate social responsibility profile of a multinational company; and (iii) the Act on Financial Supervision fails to include disclosure requirements regarding the corporate social responsibility profile of a listed company. Different possible legislative amendments are provided in this article that could enhance transparency concerning a Dutch multinational company’s business organization, the legal structure and its corporate social responsibility profile, so that corporate information is better accessible for stakeholders. We conclude that most of these improvements are not limited to the Dutch legal system, but can be seen in the light of a global trend of increased corporate transparency. With this article, we hope to contribute to a new mind-set whereby transparency is stimulated, by offering concrete (policy) tools.


Tineke E. Lambooy
Dr. T.E. Lambooy, LL.M., is an associate professor at Utrecht University’s Molengraaff Institute for Private Law and at Nyenrode Business University’s Center for Sustainability. She is the author of Corporate Social Responsibility. Legal and Semi-Legal Frameworks Supporting CSR (Kluwer, 2010).

Rosalien A. Diepeveen

Kim Nguyen
P.K. Nguyen obtained her LL.M. degree at Utrecht University Law School.

Sander van ’t Foort
R.A. Diepeveen and S. van ’t Foort are currently pursuing an LL.M. degree at Utrecht University Law School. The authors are very grateful to R. Hordijk, LL.M., for supporting them in the research on this topic and to K. Hooft, LL.M., for reviewing the draft contribution.
Editorial

Access_open Validity and Compatibility of the SAM and KLD Screening Instruments

Journal The Dovenschmidt Quarterly, Issue 1 2012
Keywords Corporate sustainability performance (measurement), screening instruments, sustainability rating agencies, Sustainable Asset Management (SAM), Corporate Sustainability Analysis Framework (CSAF), sustainability (reporting) guidelines, content analysis, Sustainability Items
Authors Egbert Dommerholt
AbstractAuthor's information

    The discussion about corporate sustainability performance already has a rich and longstanding history.Todate corporate sustainability performance is a key issue in many companies. However, when asked what it means or how to apply this construct in a concrete business context, many entrepreneurs and managers are not able to give an answer. This confusion may be due to the multitude of definitions and descriptions of corporate sustainability performance constructs.To get a better understanding of corporate sustainability performance and to help companies shape their corporate sustainability performance, a plenitude of (reporting) guidelines are available today. However, because of a rich variation in foci, these guidelines also contribute to the corporate sustainability performance confusion among business people.Companies are no longer solely judged on the financial performance, but they also have to account for their sustainability performance to a variety of stakeholders. However, along with the increasing attention of stakeholders for corporate sustainability performance, the number of organizations that assessing companies’ governance, social, ecological and economic performance also increasesThe aim of this paper is to research the validity and compatibility of the screening instruments of two widely respected sustainability rating agencies: the Zurich (Switzerland) based Sustainable Asset Management Group (SAM) and the Boston (USA) based KLD analytics, Inc (KLD). These screening instruments are benchmarked against the Corporate Sustainability Analysis Framework designed and developed by Dommerholt 2009. The results suggest that the SAM and KLD instruments are imperfect measures of corporate sustainability performance, implying that the validity of these measures is questionable. The results also show that the screening instruments are not really compatible indicating that these instruments cannot be used interchangeably because of differences in the underlying conceptions of corporate sustainability performance. Therefore we can say that these screening instruments too seem to add to the confusions surrounding corporate sustainability performance (measurement).


Egbert Dommerholt
Lecturer at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen and research associate at the Institute of Corporate Law, Governance and Innovation Policy (ICGI) of the Maastricht University.
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