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Conventional wisdom holds that corporations should maximize shareholder value. In her new book “The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public” (Berrett-Koehler, 2012), Lynn Stout argues that this is a harmful myth. According to Stout, shareholder value thinking leads managers to focus exclusively on short-term earnings to the detriment of investors, corporations, and the public.
According to Jon Macey, however, while shareholder value maximization may be a myth, it helpfully constrains corporate managers. Leaving corporate managers with unconstrained choices — the real result of Stout's argument — would be far more dangerous.
Join Macey and Stout as they debate shareholder value thinking and its implications for the corporate community, public policy arena, and public.