Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Revisioning Corporate Governance Through a Participatory Worldview: A Theoretical Study
by Aspin, Toni M., Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2017, 178; 10279178
Abstract (Summary)

As never before, nearly every aspect of our lives in modern Western society is influenced by a web of institutions. Whether driving to work, making a deposit at the bank, or shopping for groceries, our lives are inextricably linked to the institutional construct known as a corporation. Society has become fiercely aware of and opinionated about the deeds and values of corporate entities (The Harris Poll, 2016). Though it may seem so, corporations are not faceless establishments, but are made up of human persons guided by boards of directors whose leadership in the boardroom becomes an expression of a corporation interacting with this living planet.

Governance systems, defined as the process by which corporations are made responsive to the rights and wishes of stakeholders are at a critical juncture (Lorsch, 2012b). Corporate governance has been cited by many as fundamentally flawed (Turnbull, 2010), entrenched in old patterns of thinking (Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013), and in need of new insights (Sonnenfeld, 2002). This theoretical study establishes the need for a paradigmatic shift in corporate governance—one that might embolden corporations to live into their fullest potential of shaping a regenerative society, one in which life creates conditions for life, one that serves the well-being of the whole (Senge, Smith, Kruschwitz, Laur & Schley, 2008).

I imagine corporate governance realized through a participatory paradigm. I offer specific characteristics of this mindset: reflexive knowing, generative engagement, creative enactment, and mutual regard that, when practiced in the boardroom, are likely to foster needed new insights capable of reframing and repurposing the work of governing. A new model for corporate governance is not offered; rather, I suggest boardroom practices grounded in relationship and powered by integral knowing, which will benefit governance, no matter the model. What if corporations, guided by governing boards exercising a participatory perspective, used their significant influence toward shaping a society that fosters human flourishing?

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jones, Constance A.
Commitee: Flowers, Betty Sue, Gozawa, Joanne
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Transformative Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Epistemology, Organization Theory, Spirituality
Keywords: Corporate governance, Critical subjectivity, Participatory paradigm, Reflexivity
Publication Number: 10279178
ISBN: 9781369822441
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