University of New Hampshire Law Review


[Excerpt] “Fuzzy logic is a theory that categorizes concepts or things belonging to more than one group. A methodology that explains how things function in multiple groups (not fully in one group or another) offers advantages when no one definition or membership in a group accounts for belonging to multiple groups. The principal/agent model of corporate governance has some characteristics of fuzzy logic theory.

Under traditional agency theory of corporate governance, shareholders, directors, and senior corporate officers each belong to groups having multiple attributes. In the principal/agent model of corporate governance, shareholders are owners or principals; directors are shareholders and agents of the corporation; and senior corporate officers are directors’ agents, shareholders’ agents, and agents of the corporation. Each one functions within multiple groups serving multiple agency roles, and each owes fiduciary duties that vary depending on whose agent they are functioning as.

Such a multi-dimensional role for corporate actors is a consequence of multi-definitional corporate purpose within agency theory of governance. This multi-dimensional group membership is not easily reconciled within agency theory and is therefore not always explained. However, traditional corporate governance theory can borrow another basic tenet of fuzzy logic theory. Fuzzy theory not only accounts for membership in multiple groups, but also explains how things work because they are multidimensional or ambiguous. This article seeks to explain the ambiguities of corporate governance theory and suggests a framework that accounts for the multi-agent role of senior corporate officers of public companies. It offers a kind of fuzzy logic theory for understanding the fiduciary duties of senior officers.

The purpose of this article is to evaluate other models of corporate governance that account for the multi-agent role of senior officers of public companies and assess the ability of various models to hold senior officers accountable to the corporation.”

Repository Citation

Z. Jill Barclift, Fuzzy Logic and Corporate Governance Theories, 6 Pierce L. Rev. 177 (2007), available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol6/iss2/3