251.7 sec. 001 - Business in Society (Fall 2023)
Instructor: Stephen Johnson
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Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person
Th 10:00 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Law 12
From August 24, 2023
To November 30, 2023
Course End: November 30, 2023
Class Number: 31933
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 09/28 07:30 AM
We are currently experiencing a revolutionary period in business and corporate history. For the first time in decades academics, boards of directors, management teams, and investors are beginning to reconsider and redefine corporate purpose and think differently and more expansively about the way business should be conducted. Importantly, this inquiry is not occurring in isolation - it is being influenced by demands of a changing society and influencing how we think about and seek to address foundational economic and social challenges and politics that have rendered government institutions less effective.
Corporations have traditionally served the purpose of attracting and assembling capital, creating jobs and scale, driving economic growth, and maximizing long-term shareholder value. Driven by the need for more efficient and equitable capital markets, Milton Friedman presented a case in the 70’s that the sole purpose of a corporation was to increase its profits and, until recently, corporations practiced this philosophy universally and exclusively. But, with the advent of the systemic challenges presented by globalization, climate change, racial injustice, income and opportunity inequality, the increasing concentration of economic power, and the acute polarization of politics, corporations are being challenged to play an expanded role in society. Indeed, some companies are stepping into this role unprompted.
This course will begin by establishing the context and evolution of corporate purpose, review and evaluate the current state of affairs, and introduce, distinguish and evaluate the concept of stakeholder capitalism. We will explore how different actors and forces in society such as capital markets, the antitrust law regime, the interests of increasingly diverse shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders are influencing the evolution of corporate purpose. In the process we will discuss the interplay between business and government and the impact on, and the opportunities and responsibilities created for business as government becomes increasingly less able to address those systemic challenges and the needs of society. And finally, the course will explore the issues corporations are grappling with in real time, and the economic policies, laws and business practices needed to address those issues and challenges faced by society.
NOTE: Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) may be dropped without notice. The instructor can continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to risk being dropped without notice.
Steve Johnson is an Executive Vice President of American Airlines Group Inc. and, during his career in the airline industry, has had responsibility for corporate and legal affairs, corporate governance and sustainability, government and regulatory affairs, labor relations, and real estate development and operations and advised on strategy development and strategic positioning, economics and competition issues. Earlier, Steve was a partner at Indigo Partners LLC, a private equity firm, served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at GPA Group PLC, a financial services company based in Shannon, Ireland, and practiced corporate law at the Seattle-based firm Bogle & Gates. Steve is a member of the board of directors of Wizz Air Holdings PLC, a Lecturer at Haas and Berkeley Law, and earned his JD and MBA at UC Berkeley.
Attendance at the first class is mandatory for all currently enrolled and waitlisted students; any currently enrolled or waitlisted students who are not present on the first day of class (without prior permission of the instructor) will be dropped. The instructor will continue to take attendance throughout the add/drop period and anyone who moves off the waitlist into the class must continue to attend or have prior permission of the instructor in order not to be dropped.
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