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The Corporation Questions-converted (3)

“The Corporation” – Documentary Film
“The Corporation” is a documentary film based on the book of the same name by
Canadian law professor Joel Bakan. Both the film and the book cover a range of
issues that are related to Prof. Ferguson’s section of module 900002 - Business Ethics
and Corporate Governance. More specifically, the film addresses the questions, ‘what
is a corporation’ and ‘in whose interests should the corporation serve’. Further, the
film offers a critique of the dominant model of corporate governance – the
shareholder primacy model.
In this respect, the film provides a useful starting point to help students critically
engage with these fundamental issues of corporate governance.
When watching the film, students should consider how they would answer the
following questions – which will form the basis of further class discussion.
1. What is the corporation? Is it an individual, an institution or something
different entirely?
2. What are the benefits of the corporate form/incorporation?
3. What are the benefits of ‘separate legal personhood’ for the corporation? What
does it allow the corporation to do that it might not otherwise achieve?
4. According to the film, what kind of ‘person’ is the corporation? Do you agree
with this assessment? do other organisational forms have a similar or different
psychological profile?
5. One of the associated governance features of the corporation is the stock
market. What aspects of the film draw attention to the limitations of this
feature of governance?
6. Who has the moral responsibility for the actions of the corporation? Who
should be held to account for its actions?
7. Are there certain public services that should not be provided by ‘corporations’