A re-examination of corporate governance: concepts, models, theories and future directions

  • Richard Ziolkowski

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis represents a scholarly journey towards an understanding of corporate governance. Unlike the vast majority of writings on governance, this work attempts to take a step back, and to consider why and how we should study corporate governance. These critical questions have been largely ignored during the frenzy of governance research in the past few decades. The thesis argues that corporate governance theory and practice reflects a Tower of Academic Babel reality as writers from diverse backgrounds use different approaches, invent terminology and proclaim a new 'theory'. The thesis analyses the extent of this conceptual confusion about corporate governance and why this arises. It also considers some possible reasons for the increasing disillusionment with the legal, ethical, cultural, institutional, regulatory and other contexts of corporate governance. The corporate governance literature indicates that much uncertainty has arisen over the nature of corporate governance. Both, denotative and connotative meanings of corporate governance have been ambiguous, often because of poorly defined concepts. This ambiguity is compounded by confusion over methodological concepts such as "paradigm", "system", "model" and "theory", the key constructs employed by many legal, and other, writers. Moreover, much of the literature on corporate governance is founded on ethnocentric concepts that are often "chauvinistic in the extreme". This confusion has been intensified by the added complexity of unique phenomenology, demonstrated by numerous writers with "scholarship and advocacy that is culturally and economically insensitive" This thesis argues that the search for corporate efficiency and effectiveness is often misguided, both because of biased performance criteria and a lack of a clear conceptual domain. Consequently, the corporate governance discourse fails meaningfully to address the enigma of what is the range of corporate governance influence on corporate activities? The overarching argument made in this thesis is that our understanding of corporate governance requires a clarification of methodological approach and a comparative perspective. By recasting corporate governance research within consistent models, theories and applications this thesis lays the foundation for future research by which we may investigate the causal relationships that determine corporate efficiency, effectiveness and the optimum structures for good corporate governance. practitioners from most cultures.
    Date of Award2005
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorEugene Clark (Supervisor), Geoff Nicoll (Supervisor) & Bryan Horrigan (Supervisor)

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