Whose interests are directors pursuing? : a multi-country study

公司董事追求誰的利益? : 一個多國研究

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Angelo Maria SOLARINO

Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
Award date2 Oct 2015


The first part of this dissertation is an empirical assessment of the agency problem (AP). Agency theory is one of the most widely accepted and applied theories in management, yet the debate over its empirical support is far from settled. Using a sample of 82 recent empirical articles from the fields of management, international business, and finance, this section of the dissertation assesses the degree of support for agency theory prescriptions for the good governance of a company on a number of outcomes (economic performance, monitoring, risk-taking and innovation, strategic change, and board members’ involvement in decision-making). The results show that the average level of support for these prescriptions varies from modest to low and highlight the presence of an equal amount of contrasting findings. This part of the dissertation concludes by considering the causes of the low level of support from methodological and theoretical standpoints and indicating new research opportunities. One of these new research opportunities is at the heart of the second part of the dissertation. Given the equal amount of supportive findings and counter-findings, the doubt arises that directors may not be maximizing the interests of shareholders. Using qualitative interviews with directors of listed companies from Australia, Hong Kong, Italy and the United States, the second part of the dissertation explores how directors take decisions and whose interests they pursue. The agency and stewardship theories suggest that directors maximize shareholder value, while the stakeholder and resource dependence theories suggest that they maximize stakeholder value. What emerges from the qualitative study is that, contrary to the previously mentioned perspectives, directors only maximize the interests of one party: the company itself. The dissertation concludes by unifying the dominant governance theories under the umbrella of the real entity theory (RET).

    Research areas

  • Directors of corporations, Conflict of interests.