Working Paper No. 226 | February 1998

The Political Economy of Corporate Governance in Germany

Research Associate Mary O'Sullivan, of INSEAD and the Center for Industrial Competitiveness at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, is investigating systems of corporate governance to find which lead to successful decisions for individual firms and for an economy as a whole. She believes that success requires a form of corporate governance that generates conditions that permit cumulative and collective learning, provides financial commitment to innovative investment, and integrates human and physical resources in the development and use of technology. She warns that because both the real and financial sectors are in a continual process of change, a successful system of governance cannot be determined in the abstract. Strategies that work at one time may not work at another. In her examination of corporate governance in Germany, she therefore makes a detailed study of postwar German economic history. According to O'Sullivan, financial commitment to innovative investment in

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