The U.S. Business Corporation in the 1980s

The U.S. Business Corporation in the 1980s In the 1980s, with corporate mergers, takeovers, burgeoning global markets, and the formation of quasi-public enterprises like Amtrak, Comsat and Conrail, many American corporations were moving into uncharted territory. At the same time, demands on the U.S. corporation went beyond traditional economic goals to include complicated and controversial social and political functions, such as job creation in the inner city, maintaining environmental standards, and even influencing domestic affairs in foreign countries, like ending apartheid in South Africa. The Academy organized a multidisciplinary study group to examine the historical evolution of the U.S. corporation, changes in structure and control, the social organization of corporations, the role of the board of directors, and the corporation’s responsibility to its workforce and to society as a whole. Editors of the resulting volume concluded that corporate governance policy choices have major implications for the U.S. economy and, thus, the U.S. standard of living.

Resulting Publication

  • The U.S. Business Corporation: An Institution in Transition, ed. John R. Meyer and James Gustafson. Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1988. (out of print)

Project Data

  • PROJECT DATE: 1985-1988
  • PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: John R. Meyer (Harvard University) and James Gustafson (University of Chicago)
  • SOURCES OF FUNDING: Seventeen law firms engaged in corporate work and the American Academy


Project Leader
Staff Coordinator