Conference – 2016

View the Session Presentations by CBHA/ACHA members on the CBHA/ACHA YouTube Channel HERE



The Changing Political and Social Legitimacy of International Business

Date Held:   May 5-6, 2016

Principal Sponsor:  Leverhulme Trust

Co-Presenters:  Centre for the Political Economies of International Commerce (PEIC), University of Kent; Business History Group, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Synopsis:  This conference of historians, business historians, management scholars, and business practitioners studied the corporate entity as it has changed over the past four centuries. Corporations started their lives as social, political, as well as commercial entities. By the nineteenth century, corporations became less accountable to the societies and states and became more self-consciously economic, private, and financial organizations. Since then, many interests have attempted to reintroduce the social purpose of corporations. The conference will offer participants the opportunity to place present day corporate activity into an instructive historical context and to discuss how corporate actors in the past addressed challenges and problems parallel to those facing corporations today.

Papers Presented:

Session 1: Long Term Narratives

  • Mark Bonham, Massey College, Canadian financial institutions: reviewing their global ambitions and corporate policies, 1900 to present
  • David Chan Smith, Wilfred Laurier University, Non-profit corporates and corporate social responsibility in the very long term
  • Koji Yamamoto, Tokyo University, Enterprises, literature and society between the Reformation and the Great Depression

Session 2: Corporate Societies in England’s Seventeenth Century World

  • Will Pettigrew, University of Kent, The social context for the development of the seventeenth century corporate executive
  • Edmond Smith, University of Kent, Social responsibility and corporate reputations: between institutions and personal networks
  • Aske Brock, University of Kent, Poor boxes, hospitals, and intellectual societies: the extra-corporate interests of company directors in the latter part of the seventeenth century

Session 3: The Formation of the Multinational in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries

  • Mike Wagner, Oxford University, Profit and surety:  the British chartered trading companies and the state
  • Emily Buchnea, Newcastle University, Multinational enterprises in transition: Anglo-American trading firms and the direction of American expansion, 1815-1840

Keynote Address

  • Mr Justice Rothstein, The Canadian Supreme Court and the redevelopment of social corporations

Session 4: The Development of the Corporation in North America

  • Bob Wright, Augustana University, Non-profit corporations in the early United States
  • Joe Martin, Rotman School of Management, Social responsibility, Bloodshed at Seven Oaks, and the merger of the Hudson’s Bay and the North West Companies
  • Alison Kemper , Ryerson University, How accounting created Canada: The alienation of Rupert's Land by the Hudson's Bay Company

Session 5: Perspectives on Ownership

  • Janette Rutterford, The Open University, The Distant Shareholder
  • Les Hannah, London School of Economics, Pressures for shareholder value and how they differed in Germany, France, UK, US, and Japan for multinationals and domestic corporations in the decade before 1914
  • Philip Scranton, Rutgers University, Managing communist enterprises: Poland, Hungary & Czechoslovakia, 1945-1970.

Session 6: International Challenges

  • Christopher Kobrak, Rotman School of Management, Managing cross-border responsibilities: Deutsche Bank, the United States and social reputation
  • Jason Russell, Empire State College, Adolph Berle’s critique of U.S. corporate interests in the Caribbean basin
  • Neil Forbes, Coventry University, The Rio Tinto Company and Spain: political and social legitimacy from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Session 7: Corporate Constituencies in Space and Time

  • Jon MacKay, Said Business School, Oxford University, Networks of corporate elites in Canada near the turn of the twentieth century
  • Julia M. Puaschunder, New School, Intergenerational responsibility

Session 8: Business Practitioners Reflect

  • Moderator: A. R. (Sandy) Aird; James Arnett; The Honourable Hal Jackman