Title: Small shareholder control of listed companies' administrators during annual general meetings: an experimental study

Authors: Giuseppe Catenazzo; Emmanuel Fragnière

Addresses: HEC - Université de Genève, 40, boulevard du Pont d’Arve, CH-1211 Genève 4, Switzerland. ' University of Bath, Haute École de Gestion de Genève, Campus Battelle – Bât F, Route de Drize 7, CH-1227 Carouge, Switzerland

Abstract: In this study, we examine the perceptions of individual shareholders during Swiss annual general meetings (AGMs). Using AGMs as a corporate governance device has become ineffective; a panel of experts has called on small shareholders to increase their involvement in order to improve meeting efficacy. We designed a theatre-based experiment with 149 participants who acted as shareholders of a fictitious Swiss-listed SME. We find that active small shareholders are perceived positively by less than half the subjects. Pension fund representatives seem to instil the highest level of confidence in shareholders in their ability to maintain long-term company sustainability. Finally, we note that confidence in the board of directors fell markedly over the course of the experiment.

Keywords: theatre-based experimentation; shareholder meetings; corporate governance; risk management; manipulation; annual general meetings; AGMs; corporate governance; experimental study; board of directors; small shareholders; Switzerland; shareholder control; listed companies; company administrators.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBAF.2012.047361

International Journal of Behavioural Accounting and Finance, 2012 Vol.3 No.1/2, pp.46 - 64

Available online: 16 Jun 2012 *

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