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Monday, March 05, 2007

Cleared decks...for now...

Cleared the decks of two papers that have been weighing heavy on my time. One was the latest version in my decade old effort to get a handle on the concept of accountability. It was something I had to get out of the way if my other projects are to make any sense -- and now I await some feedback from colleagues. (anyone willing to take a shot at it is welcome to do so...)

The second (completed yesterday) was my stab at understanding what role accountability could or should play in the wonderful world of corporate governance. The focus was supposed to be on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOx), the 2002 US act that attempted to deal with the problems emerging out of Enron, WorldCom and the like. I do end up looking at SOx, but not in as great detail as might have been expected by others -- instead, most of my attention was drawn to the fascinating debate over corporate governance that took place more than a century ago in Europe and the US. As it turns out, it would have been healthy for the debate to have continued rather than having been cut off in the 1920s by no less a figure than John Dewey. Dewey wrote a piece in the Harvard Law Review in 1926 which effectively dismissed the entire discussion about the nature of the corporation (its "personality") as a waste of intellectual time and energy. Digging into that discussion helped me clarify my own position as well as the issues related to the failure of corporate governance reform. Again, any who can tolerate my writing is welcome to read and provide feedback. I will certainly get some when I travel "down under" to present it at a conference on SOx....

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