Deconstructing the Mythology of Shareholder Value

Walter de Gruyter
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Accounting, Economics and Law A Convivium, 2013, 3 (1), pp. 15 - 42
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This review article seeks to celebrate the deconstruction of the mythology of shareholder value inspired by Lynn Stout, and to dismantle the hegemony of agency theory, which originated the concepts of shareholder value and shareholder primacy. In order to offer a contextualized, historical critique of the intellectual forces that created agency theory and the concept of shareholder value, the analysis presents a broad consideration of the financialization of the Anglo-American corporation in the later decades of the twentieth century. It was in this period that the Anglo-American corporation was crudely transformed from being a wealth-creating vehicle for the wider community of stakeholders and whole economy, into a bundle of assets with the sole purpose of benefiting shareholder interests.
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