This thesis is on the corporate governance of multinational corporations and the way corporations take their decisions. The ever-growing impact of the outcome of these decisions becomes a real threat to the public domain and the future of many citizens. I argue for a radical change in the way multinational corporations prepare these decisions both on the strategic level as well as on the day-to -day operational level. In this thesis, I propose and elaborate a more democratic governance of corporations as a pre-condition for a real sustainable company policy. I want to show that governance that is more democratic will lead to an increased social embeddedness of multinational corporations and a decrease in the tension between these corporations and their environment.
As a former managing director of one of Business Units of the Hoogovens/Corus group , I have long-term experience, 36 years, in the steel industry. I will use this expertise in shaping the new concept of associative corporate governance under the specific conditions of steelmakers.
By that industrial governance and democracy are compatible realities from a new angle: a democratic reform of corporate governance. By looking at corporations from this point of view, I hope to create new insights and ideas of ‘reflective business studies', following Isaiah Berlin's statement that the task of philosophy is ‘to subvert, break through, destroy, deliberate, let air in from outside' (Berlin 1996: 67). Philosophy should be a perpetual search for new answers in new situations. Associative Corporate Governance can be the next step in industrial democracy as the 21st century representative of industrial democracy ideas and practices as developed during the past two centuries.