Business and Markets

Worker Voice and the New Corporate Boardroom

August 23, 2021  • Business and Society Program

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Perhaps more than any time in the last forty years, the needs and interests of workers now occupy the attention of corporate directors, CEOs and investors. Whether the focus is on wages, worker health & safety or diversity, equity & inclusion, the year 2020 opened up new conversations about how our modern economy treats workers. Currently, workers have no formal role in American corporate governance. Worker insights rarely inform board-level decisions and the result is wasted potential that if captured, could benefit companies, workers, and society as a whole.

After a series of roundtables as part of the Idea Lab on Worker Voice in Corporate Governance, the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program is pleased to present a series of six essays that explore new ways to recapture this lost potential. These essays are meant to challenge old assumptions and mindsets, and open important new conversations. We hope they can serve as a primer for boards looking for better ways to improve long-term decision making and for the corporate governance community to improve corporate oversight and accountability.

In this report, we share new corporate governance ideas that focus on:

  • Expanding Diversity in the Boardroom by Adding Worker Voice
  • Director Perspectives: The Value of Worker Voice
  • Reimagining Board Committees to Accommodate Worker Voice
  • Those Who Work are Labor Investors: Recognizing the Two Core Constituencies of Capitalist Firms
  • Why (and How) Workers Should Be Represented on U.S. Corporate Boards
  • From Shareholder Primacy to a Dual Majority Board