This report published by the British Academy seeks to draw together the substantial body of knowledge and insights that the thirteen research projects provide on the current challenges that confront businesses, governments and societies around the world.
While setting out key principles for the future of the corporation, the report is primarily diagnostic in identifying the nature and source of the problems rather than prescriptive in proposing detailed policy recommendations. These will be the focus of phase two of the research programme, which are being further developed with further output due later in 2019.
Corporations were originally established with clear public purposes. It is only over the last half century that corporate purpose has come to be equated solely with profit. This has been damaging for corporations’ role in society, trust in business and the impact that business has had on the environment, inequality and social cohesion. In addition, globalisation and technological advances are exacerbating problems of regulatory lag. Together, these issues are intensifying the need for a reconceptualisation of the corporation around its purpose.