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The Multinational Enterprises: Economic & Legal Entities

In this session, we examine the corporation as a legal entity and the multinational enterprise as an economic entity. We then consider the significance of this distinction in our case studies (Ecuador and Papua New Guinea). A global firm is made up of interconnected but separately incorporated entities; together they form a “poly-corporate” group that transcends national borders—inhabiting a liminal space that is both precisely local (by its locally incorporated subsidiary) and broadly transnational (as a global group). Through interactive discussion, we consider how the structure of the corporate groups (and underlying corporate law) in our case studies might determine or influence the strategy taken to address the human rights risk to people and risk to the business. We revisit the question of whether legal norms (such as the fiduciary duty of loyalty) constrain or liberate such decision makers; and we contemplate whether economic imperatives are the key driver for corporate decision-making, notwithstanding the presence of background legal and social norms.

Main objective of today’s discussion:

  • To appreciate the significance of background rules of corporate law for key issues in business and human rights.

This workshop has no pre-requisites and is open to all students.

For more information and workshop materials, visit: https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/53562


November 8, 2018
1:15 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


WCC 3036 Room


Malcolm Rogge
Graduate Program