1st Edition

Corporate Group Legitimacy Reconceptualising the Corporate Group

By Peter Underwood Copyright 2025
    240 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on the legitimacy of corporate power wielded by corporate groups, integrating legal doctrine, economic analysis and theoretical approaches. It reassesses how corporate groups can maintain legitimacy whilst exercising corporate power.

    Corporate groups are a prominent commercial feature of many jurisdictions and present unique challenges. The book argues that when analysed through the lens of corporate social responsibility, a legitimacy deficiency emerges. This arises from a lack of historical debate, diluted control mechanisms and inflated growth utilising unique features of the corporate group. It explores how the magnified power of the corporate group presents acute challenges for corporate legitimacy. Data is utilised alongside current examples of corporate groups which identify structural architectural patterns. It explores new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and blockchain as ways of attaining legitimacy. It presents methods of attaining legitimacy for the continued wielding of power to be held within corporate groups.

    This book spans several research interests under the corporate law umbrella. It will be of interest to traditional black letter company lawyers. Additionally, it will be of interest to those who have an interest in business and those who are interested in the role of technology.

    1. Introduction

    2. Groups and their Use

    3. Mapping the Corporate Group

    4. The Rise of the Modern Corporate Group and its Effect

    5. Corporate Power

    6. Democratising the Corporate Group to Attain Legitimacy

    7. Conclusion



    Peter Underwood is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter. He joined the Law School following his PhD. His research focuses on corporate law and governance and legal issues arising from the imbalance and separation of power within modern corporations. This interest spans Corporate Governance and Responsibility, Corporate Social Responsibility and the impact on society. He is also interested in the role Artificial intelligence could play in the corporate governance framework. Peter currently serves as the Co-Director for the Centre for Commercial and Corporate Law at Exeter.