This paper analyzes the problem concerning the meaning of commercial company interest. The main question is - what is the purpose of commercial company and to whom should the company serve? In the doctrine of commercial law there are two basic concepts of company interest: shareholder value model and stakeholder value model. For many years the first one was dominant - according to Milton Friedman famous statement that 'the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits'. However, in the light of current financial crisis shareholder value model is heavily criticized, especially due to the growing popularity of corporate social responsibility concept - CSR. The notion of company interest is not directly regulated in polish law. There is also no consent as to its meaning in polish doctrine. In the light of lessons drawn from financial crisis, supporters of stakeholder value model got new arguments in already opened discussion. The aim of this article is therefore to seek for an answer, how should the notion of company interest be understood and whether financial crisis determines any changes in this subject. Secondly, it is discussed, if stakeholder value model is suitable also for polish companies and whether such a concept is consistent with the polish law.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.