What is the purpose of the company and its role in society? From their origin in medieval times to their modern incarnation as powerful transnational bodies, companies remain an important part of business and society at large. Drawing from a variety of perspectives, this book adopts a normative approach to understanding the modern company and provides insights into how companies should be conceptualized. It considers key topics such as the development of corporate theory, the rights and obligations of the company, and the means and ends of corporate governance. Written by leading experts of different jurisdictions, this book provides important international viewpoints on some of the most pressing corporate governance questions.