La Professeure Lynn Stout de UCLA a écrit abondamment sur les limites du modèle de la primauté des actionnaires. Dans un récent texte, New Thinking on Shareholder Primacy, elle reprend l'essentiel de ses critiques, en soulignant que ce modèle est maintenant désuet. Voici le résumé:
By the beginning of the twenty-first century, many observers had come to believe that U.S. corporate law should, and does, embrace a “shareholder primacy” rule that requires corporate directors to maximize shareholder wealth. This Essay argues that such a view is mistaken.
As a positive matter, U.S. corporate law and practice does not require directors to maximize shareholder wealth but instead grants them a wide range of discretion, constrained only at the margin by market forces, to sacrifice shareholder wealth in order to benefit other constituencies. Although recent “reforms” designed to promote greater shareholder power have begun to limit this discretion, U.S. corporate governance remains director-centric.
As a normative matter, several lines of theory have emerged in modern corporate scholarship that independently suggest why director governance of public firms is desirable from shareholders’ own perspective. The Essay reviews five of these lines of theory and explores why each gives us reason to believe that shareholder primacy rules in public companies in fact disadvantage shareholders. It concludes that shareholder primacy thinking in its conventional form is on the brink of intellectual collapse, and will be replaced by more sophisticated and nuanced theories of corporate structure and purpose.
On souhaiterait toutefois que ce texte propose des pistes plus étoffées pour préciser le modèle qu'elle estime en voie de remplacer celui de la primauté des actionnaires.