This book is about the way companies are directed and controlled, and relate to their sources of finance—what has come to be called corporate governance. The term‘company’ is better than ‘corporation’ as it reflects the human dimension; companies are collections of people, not just inanimate structures.
There are separate chapters describing corporate governance in five leading economies—Germany, Japan, France, the USA, and the UK. Each chapter is descriptive, not normative. The aim is to make sense of current practice and to shed light on the main changes and probable developments bearing in mind what has already taken place since Keeping Good Company was written in 1991. Had this book been written in 2025 not 2003–4, it would have contained chapters on the three economies which by then may have surpassed in size all except the USA—China, India, and Russia. The main focus is on quoted companies, but the principles of good governance apply to companies of almost any size, though their application may vary according to circumstances; unquoted companies will be considered because of their significance and the special problems they pose.