Corporate governance in France and the UK: long-term perspectives on contemporary institutional arrangements

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The Cadbury Report on the financial aspects of corporate governance, published in the UK in 1992, was a landmark in thinking on governance, leading to the publication in France in 1995 of the Viénot Report, which boldly urged the removal of the cross-shareholdings which have formed the bedrock of French capitalism for three decades. This article considers the impact of this new emphasis on corporate governance on patterns of governance in Britain and France, examining matters of ownership and control, board membership and business elites, business cultures and decision-making, and responsibilities to shareholders. It questions whether the new focus on corporate governance has brought closer together the ways in which businesses are managed in Britain and France, towards a European model, or whether indeed France is gradually embracing the Anglo-Saxon model, and finds that such convergence as has occurred since the Second World War shows as yet no sign of leading to uniformity. Finally, the article suggests that the contemporary corporate governance debate offers a framework through which the past may be revisited and, potentially, reassessed, business historians being well placed to shed light on the competing natures as well as the competing forms of corporate governance in the world today.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-116
Number of pages29
JournalBusiness History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


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