Today, no one would dispute that information technology has become the backbone of commerce. It underpins the operations of individual companies, ties together far-flung supply chains, and, increasingly, links businesses to the customers they serve. Hardly a dollar or a euro changes hands anymore without the aid of computer systems.
Berle and Means ’ book remains the point of departure and the central reference for reflection about corporate governance. It has given rise to differing, even contradictory interpretations, which explains how it could be used in support of opposing theories, notably on the question of the relationship between shareholders and managers. Thus, it has been used to argue in favor of the shareholder conception that is now dominant, even though it contains, as we shall see, a conception of the corporation that is radically different to the contractualist view that underpins the current doctrine of shareholder primacy.