What is a business organization called that is owned by many investors rather than by a single owner or by partners?
A business organization that is owned by many investors rather than a single owner or by partners is known as a corporation. The people who own the corporation are called the stockholders. They buy shares of stock in the company (or are given shares of stock for certain offices held). Corporations became very popular in the 1800s.
There are several benefits to forming a corporation. One key benefit is the limited liability of the stockholders who own the corporation. In a corporation, the stockholders can’t be personally sued. Only the assets of the corporation are at stake if there is a lawsuit, not the personal assets of the stockholders. Corporations are able to raise money quicker by selling stocks or bonds. Corporations are able to produce products cheaper than small businesses due to economies of scale. Corporations are also more likely to be able to survive difficult economic times due to having lower operating costs than smaller businesses have. Sometimes, corporations can negotiate discounts because they buy large quantities of products from suppliers. The many benefits of forming a corporation contributed to their growth in the 1800s.
This is a publicly traded corporation. When a corporation is publicly traded, that means that anyone can buy or sell their stock on a stock exchange. It is possible for a privately held corporation to have a fairly large number of investors, but they become involved only with the permission of the owners.
It doesn't necessarily have to be a publicly traded corporation, given the general description you provide, but it probably is the most accurate one. Any stockholder that owns more than 50% of the stock can take over the Board of Directors and manage the company how they see fit.