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Corporate governance: what about the workers?

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Purpose ‐ To stimulate debates about the creation of corporate governance mechanisms and processes which would help to secure an equitable distribution of income and wealth for workers. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper builds on a political economy of income and wealth inequalities. It argues that corporate governance mechanisms and processes are rooted in particular politics and histories. The state is a key actor. It provides a brief history of the UK corporate governance debates relating to income distribution, industrial democracy and disclosures. It provides social data about the extent of income inequalities. Findings ‐ The paper shows that the UK lacks institutional structures and processes and mechanisms to enable workers to secure a higher share of the firm's income. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study primarily focuses on some aspects of the corporate governance structures, practices and income/wealth inequalities in the UK. Its implications could also be relevant to market-oriented liberal states with "consensus" or "majoritarian" electoral systems. Practical implications ‐ To encourage debates, the paper puts forward a number of suggestions for changing electoral and corporate governance practices together with disclosures that could give visibility to income and wealth inequalities. Originality/value ‐ The paper links corporate governance debates to broader political choices.
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Keywords: Corporate governance; Distribution of wealth; Employees; State; United Kingdom

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 19 September 2008

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