Corporate Governance: Definition and Meaning

Corporate governance is the ongoing process by which a company applies the best management practises, ensures that the law is applied as intended, and abides by ethical standards in order to operate effectively, meet stakeholder obligations, and adhere to corporate social obligations.

It includes policies and guidelines to sustain a solid relationship between the company's owners (shareholders), the Board of Directors, management, and other stakeholders like staff members, clients, the government, suppliers, and the general public. That applies to all types of organisations, whether they are for profit or not.

What is the Meaning of Corporate Governance?

Corporate governance describes the methods used to govern businesses and their goals. It indicates who is in charge, who is responsible, and who makes choices. In essence, it serves as a toolkit for management and the board to deal with business difficulties more skilfully. Corporate governance makes sure that organisations have the proper controls and decision-making processes in place to balance the interests of all parties involved (shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers, and the community).

Principles of Corporate Governance

Although corporate governance models may differ, the majority of firms have the following essential components −

Fair and Equitable Treatment

All stakeholders—shareholders, clients, staff, and others—should be treated fairly and equally. Making sure shareholders are informed of their rights and how to exercise them is part of this.


Both shareholders and nonshareholders have legal, contractual, and social obligations that must be upheld. Businesses should establish a code of conduct for senior executives, board members, and board committees like the audit and pay committees. All new members of those ranks must adhere to the specified requirements.


The board of directors must remain dedicated to promoting diversity in corporate governance and the business as a whole.

Oversight And Management

Board members must also have the required expertise to evaluate management procedures.


All corporate governance practises and policies should be made public to all pertinent parties. This includes regularly and consistently informing staff, clients, investors, partners, and neighbours of relevant information.

Areas of Focus

Compared to those in non-financial organisations, governance concerns in financial institutions are comparable but yet significantly different −

Corporate Governance in The Financial Sector

The public's trust in financial institutions must be upheld, and depositors must be protected. Because balance sheets are less transparent due to their increased opacity, problems can be hidden more easily. In order to practise good governance, boards and senior management must uphold their fiduciary duties by clearly articulating their strategic business goals and risk tolerance, as well as ensuring an efficient and effective structure for risk management, risk assessment, and adequate capital support.

In addition to protecting the interests of depositors and other investors in commercial banks, good governance also enhances and sustains public confidence in the financial sector, which, in turn, enhances its credibility and integrity.

Corporate Governance in Capital Markets

Corporate governance is still a crucial aspect of the growth of capital markets. Good CG lowers the cost of capital and transaction fees, which promotes the growth of the capital market and lessens the vulnerability of emerging markets to financial crises. Transparency is mostly fueled by the capital markets. Many SOEs, in addition to private businesses, is going public on the capital markets to increase transparency and get access to alternative sources of funding. Moreover, strong CG promotes outside investment and investor trust.

Advantages of Corporate Governance

A good firm can become a great one with sound corporate governance. In every industry, the best corporate governance procedures have propelled the leaders to the top of their respective fields.

Compliance With Laws

With corporate governance in place, compliance with numerous laws is simply handled because corporate governance consists of the rules, regulations, and policies that allow a firm to operate without any bother or legal difficulties at all while remaining compliant.

Lesser fines And Penalties

Companies are able to save a tonne of money on needless penalties and compliances because the legal compliance side is taken care of thanks to corporate governance standards, and they may be able to transfer those funds towards commercial goals to achieve greater heights.

Better management

It is much simpler to manage activities, reach goals, and carry out daily operations when there is a structure in place for how the entity runs. In accordance with sound corporate governance practises that promote teamwork, unanimity, efficiency, and a desire for achievement, the workplace environment also takes care of itself.

Reputation And Relationship

Going by their stellar reputation and brand image, companies with outstanding corporate governance are able to attract investors and external financiers with relative ease. Transparency, or the practise of sharing important internal information with stakeholders, is one of the foundational principles of corporate governance. This strengthens the bond between the organisation and its constituents and plants the seeds of trust between the business and society at large.

Lesser Conflicts and Frauds

The norms that are ingrained in the workplace urge employees to act morally in whatever circumstance they come across, eliminating the chance of fraud and employee conflict.

Some Other Benefits of Corporate Governance are

  • Transparent norms and controls are established by good corporate governance, and the interests of shareholders, directors, management, and staff are all aligned.

  • It promotes trust among citizens, investors, and public servants

  • Corporate governance may give stakeholders and investors a clear picture of a company's direction and moral character.

  • Long-term financial viability, opportunity, and returns are encouraged.

  • That might make capital raising easier.

  • A rise in share prices can be attributed to good corporate governance.

  • The likelihood of financial loss, waste, hazards, and corruption may be reduced.

  • It is a strategy for resiliency and sustained achievement.

Disadvantages of Corporate Governance

Smaller organisations may experience certain difficulties because there is no formal separation of duties between directors, managers, and shareholders. With this in mind, it results in −

The Burden of Staying Legally Compliant

Business entities typically have a lot of compliance to follow, with various rules depending on their industry. Legal compliance is ensured by corporate governance, although it has a very high cost.

Increased Costs

Given all the regulations that must be fulfilled, administrative costs for corporations with corporate governance are quite high. The following documents must be kept up to date −

Stock purchases and sales- Records of legal compliance- Yearly licencing

Maintenance of Segregation

Regardless of the size of the organisation, all procedures and criteria must be followed without fail. Failing to abide by these regulations exposes the business to great risk, including "piercing of the corporate veil," in which the corporation's existence as a separate legal entity is disregarded in order to get insight into what happens behind closed doors.

The Conflict Between the Principal and the Agent

A well-known manager with a solid track record is typically chosen by large organisations to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company. However, this leads to a confrontation between the shareholders and the managers because their goals and viewpoints may differ greatly. This frequently results in conflict between the two, which compromises the company's capacity to operate smoothly and effectively as a whole.


While good corporate governance may not be the primary driver of economic growth, it is crucial to the engine's efficient operation. The environment in which businesses operate evolves as competition intensifies, and in such a dynamic context, corporate governance structures also need to adjust. When vying for limited money in today's public markets, failing to implement sound governance practises carries a penalty in the form of a large risk premium.

Hence, fostering and upholding honesty, openness, and accountability in the company's management as well as in the manifestation of a corporation's beliefs, principles, and policies is the essence of corporate governance.

Frequently Asked Question

Q1. What is the importance of corporate governance?

Ans. The board of directors of an organisation should hold regular meetings, maintain control over the company, and have clearly defined roles because of good corporate governance. One of the foundational elements of any successful company is corporate governance.

Q2. Who is the founder of corporate governance?

Ans. The principal-agent problem was developed in the 1980s by Eugene Fama and Michael Jensen as a means of comprehending corporate governance: the corporation is viewed as a collection of contracts.

Q3. What is a weakness of corporate governance?

Ans. Corporate governance may have as its main drawback the formalities that businesses must follow. This may involve convening yearly shareholder meetings and recording them, as well as keeping track of significant actions that the board of directors has approved.

Updated on: 06-Apr-2023


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