Continual inquiry in the search for understanding and truth identifies a central rationale for being and defines a continuing dialectical objective for human existence. However, as discussed in Chap.  2, the world we attempt to comprehend is opaque and our understandings of ‘self is in many respects unknown and alien to itself’ (Dillon 1997, p. 9). As we undertake inquiries we seek to ‘overcome the world’s otherness and our own self-estrangement’, as both world and self ‘transcend us’ (ibid.). Given the shortcomings regarding our ability to comprehend the world and ourselves can we use the idea of progress in arts and culture, or the concept of an ideal society, against which the imperfections and shortcomings of actual social existence may be assessed? Ideas regarding the ideal social structure range from a golden age, the Platonic Republic and Utopia through to different models of existence identified by Enlightenment philosophers. ‘Whatever the origins of such visions the conception itself rests on the conviction that there exists true, immutable, universal, timeless objective values valid for all men, everywhere, at all times; that these values are at least in principle realisable, whether or not human beings are or have been, or ever will be, realising on earth’ (Berlin 1979, p. 121). Such ideals provide a template against which imperfect existing modes of governance may be measured and assessed. The ideal corporate governance structure involves ethical, moral activity undertaken by human beings on the basis of developing a ‘good’ or ‘just’ environment. The ideal notion of corporate governance could involve an ethical approach which includes customs, rituals and values as well as organizational cultures: balanced objectives for all interested parties and the participation of key stakeholders in the company; open decision-making processes that provide equal access for the concerns of all stakeholders; that is, accountable and transparent procedures for all stakeholders (including shareholders). However, as this text has identified it is always difficult to define the concept of ‘good’, ‘just’ or ethical and the activities that best ensure such outcomes. We have identified means of achieving and measuring the idea of ‘good’ or ‘just’ in terms of social contact, self-interest (egoism) and common-interest (altruism) as well as problems regarding values and culture in relation to universal and relative principles. In addition, we have discussed and offered different philosophical approaches through paradigms of inquiry and methodologies for dealing with these difficult issues.


Corporate Governance Critical Theory Ethical Perspective Corporate Governance System Good Corporate Governance 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Management, Plymouth Business School, Plymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Newcastle Business School, Northumbria UniversityNewcastle Upon TyneUK

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