My friend Wharton professor Eric Orts has started a blog where he'll be focusing on topics falling into one (or more) of three "buckets":
- Business Theory. This interest follows my general interest in asking foundational questions about the nature and purposes of business in our society today. My most recent contribution in this area is Business Persons: A Legal Theory of the Firm (Oxford University Press 2013). I am currently at work on a sequel accepted for publication and currently titled Rethinking the Firm: Business Theory from an Interdisciplinary Perspective. This book aims to combine philosophical, sociological, historical, economic, and political perspectives on the nature and purposes of firms.
- Corporate Governance. This area has been my longest standing focus in my teaching and research. In various writings, I have discussed corporate law and securities regulation regarding the fiduciary duties of corporate directors and officers, the organizational complexity of firms, liability rules, capital structures, and insider trading. I serve also as the academic co-director (with Jill Fisch of Penn Law School) of theFINRA Institute at Wharton’s Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional Program in executive education. Increasingly, business ethics is also a strong and related interest, and I have written constructive critiques of stakeholder theory (with co-author Alan Strudler) and currently serve on the editorial board of Business Ethics Quarterly.
- Environmental Sustainability. Another area of long-standing interest has been environmental law and, more generally, the problem of the ethical and economic case for taking sustainability seriously in business and everyday life. In environmental law, I have focused on so-called “third generation” approaches to regulation that attempt to leverage indirect mechanisms such as environmental reporting and mandatory disclosure of information as methods to encourage and provide incentives for environmentally beneficial behavior in business. In a law review article in 1995, I coined the term “reflexive environmental law” to refer to this indirect regulatory method of encouraging business improve their sustainability. In addition, I have served as the founding faculty director of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) since 2007. IGEL is supported by an advisory board of companies concerned about sustainability issues in business and promotes a wide variety of teaching, research, and outreach activities. One signature event is an annual conference-workshop at which we assemble leading academics and practitioners to examine a carefully selected cutting-edge topic. Reports about IGEL’s conference activities are often published by Knowledge@Wharton. Outside of Wharton, I’m a founding board member of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, which advances the cause of promoting rigorous research on business-and-sustainability topics in business schools and elsewhere.