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Corporate Actors: Power and Responsibility (Module)

Module description

The influence of corporations, especially financial ones, within international corporate governance norms and processes has been significantly strengthened in recent decades. Multinational companies have spread quickly across both sides of the Atlantic, while mega corporations such as Microsoft and Google, have increased their dominance, placing an increasing emphasis on financial results as measures of corporate success. This ‘financialisation’ purports particularly to orientate the modern corporation to the maximisation of returns for the corporation’s investors/shareholders, disregarding the interests of other groups, such as employees, providers of credit, suppliers, customers and the local or global community. Yet this diffusion of shareholder value maximisation has led to the paradox of apparently greater power and autonomy of the executive managers, vis-à-vis the shareholders. At the same time business scandals proliferate and business-driven economic crises persist, while there is an increasing public concern over the apparent lack of effective boards and perceived excessive remuneration packages. It is within this background that the power held by the different corporate actors and its abuses pervade political, academic and wider public debates.

The aim of this module is to address these two questions and shed light on the powers and responsibilities of three main corporate actors – the directors, the executive managers and the shareholders – in large public companies. It will strive to achieve this aim by means of a functional analysis of topical issues of corporate law and an evaluation of economic theory relating to corporate law and financial market regulation. Although the main focus will be on board and shareholder relationships, the aim of the course is to develop and apply a framework of analysis which illuminates relations between the board and all stakeholder groups. The law of the United Kingdom will be used as a point of reference. 

Staff information

Dr Dionysia Katelouzou

Teaching pattern

Learning and teaching methods vary but may include watching video content, engaging in discussion forums, taking part in live chat/webinar sessions, self-directed activities, doing quizzes or working through interactive content designed to stimulate your thoughts and help you to apply knowledge.

You will be expected to undertake approximately 20 hours of study per week which may typically be broken down as follows:

  • Directed study  - 2 (web content material including recorded video, text, graphics)
  • Other activity - 2 (1 hour live seminar and 1 hour of discussion board)
  • Self-directed learning and assessment work - 16 (including completing set tasks and reading, research, revision)



Module assessment - more information

A small percentage of your final module mark will be based on your participation in discussion forums, unless stated otherwise. The remaining percentage will typically be assessed by a 48 hour take-home exam.

Key information

Module code 7FFLP001

Credit level 7

Assessment written examination/s

Credit value 15

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No