The major issues that need to be addressed by effective corporate governance in the 21st century

Author:Tareq Na’el Al-Tawil
Position:School of Management, New York Institute of Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Pages:349-378
SUMMARY

Purpose This paper aims to underline and evaluate what corporations are as artificial entities, the concept of corporate governance (CG) in the twentieth century and whether a corporation owes allegiance to its key stakeholders in the twenty-first century. Design/methodology/approach Because it requires development in the twenty-first century, a clarification of the key areas of... (see full summary)

 
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The major issues that need to be
addressed by effective corporate
governance in the 21st century
Tareq Na’el Al-Tawil
School of Management, New York Institute of Technology, Abu Dhabi,
United Arab Emirates
Abstract
Purpose – This paper aims to underline and evaluate what corporations are as articial entities, the
concept of corporate governance (CG) in the twentieth century and whether a corporation owes
allegiance to its key stakeholders in the twenty-rst century.
Design/methodology/approach – Because it requires development in the twenty-rst century, a
clarication of the key areas of reform in “global corporate governance” is overdue. These include an
analysis of the stakeholder role; the logic and effect of the codes of corporate practise such as in the
Cadbury Code and Combined Codes. The “value chain theory” in CG and how it should be placed not
only on nancial value but also on natural, human and cultural values will looked at. This paper also
provides a brief insight into major multi-national corporate collapse. The Enron case, for example,
highlights how such mishaps can be avoided to rekindle trust and transparency, as well as disclosure to
authorities, shareholders and the public.
Findings – This paper looks at how public interest and consumer interest play a role in corporate
existence by analysing an inevitable change in the twenty-rst century from absolute corporate control
to public/consumer control and have an inuence in areas like environmental, ethical and employee
protection and recognition. The emotional side of a corporation is brought to life to win the hearts of
consumers and the public. How this fares in the light of prots and long-term Environmental
Management Scheme investment will be evaluated.
Originality/value – This paper ends with a general conclusion, summarising the necessary changes
to governance and the author’s opinion on the realities of change: will it work, will it improve the living
standards or will it just increase the gap between well-organised and ill-fated economies?
Keywords Corporate governance, Accountancy and auditing, CSR, Fiduciary duties
Paper type Viewpoint
1. Introduction
Because it requires development in the twenty-rst century, a clarication of the key
areas of reform in “global corporate governance” (CG) is overdue. These include an
analysis of the stakeholder role: the logic and effect of the codes of corporate practise
such as in the Cadbury Code and Combined Codes. Also of interest is what they tend to
address. In these, we nd clues to recurrent problems that require attention.
The “value chain theory” in CG and how it should not only be placed on nancial
value but also on natural, human and cultural values will be looked at. Corporations will
now have to invest in human resources (employee sector) and encourage them to add
value to corporate success through their performance.
Through these categories, we widen the scope for analysing and criticising the
structure of corporate board; areas like who should really be on the board? The process
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Effective
corporate
governance
349
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.23 No. 2, 2016
pp.349-378
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-01-2015-0003
of putting sensible people in leadership positions to guide the affairs of the company and
the role of the CEO and Chairman are also analysed. Finally, the effects of remuneration
and incentives on such members at the top of the corporate ladder; do they improve
governance or pave the way for greed, materialism and selsh board interest?
I also briey analyse the role of women in top managerial positions and the theory of
ethnic diversity in the twenty-rst-century governance. Does the role of women pay and
do we get better results in decision-making? A look at shareholders, especially
institutional shareholders, is highlighted. We analyse their role of ownership and
control, their inuence in voting rights and what the twenty-rst century might do to
shareholders and their voting powers during the Annual General Meetings (AGMs). Are
such meetings becoming boring and a mere façade to board room control and majority
shareholder “muscle power”? How does information inuence insider dealing and affect
accountancy, transparency and trust by stakeholders on the corporation? Can the
twenty-rst-century governance curb such abuses?
I also provide a brief insight into major multi-national corporate collapse. The Enron
case, for example, highlights how such mishaps can be avoided to rekindle trust and
transparency, as well as disclosure to authorities, shareholders and the public. This is
highlighted in the paper by citing approaches taken by auditing rms, associations and
government policies.
The role of creditors, which is somewhat ignored until the corporations are
approaching bankruptcy, is seen as an area for concern and reform. With banks,
insurance rms and pension funds being key sources of nancial sustainability to
corporations, the need to protect their interest by making stiffer penalties and training
those with responsibilities in looking after, investing and managing wisely on behalf of
shareholders is discussed and criticised.
I also look at how public interest and consumer interest plays a role in corporate
existence by analysing an inevitable change in the twenty-rst century from absolute
corporate control to public/consumer control and inuence in areas like environmental,
ethical and employee protection and recognition. The emotional side of a corporation is
brought to life to win the hearts of consumers and the public. We see how this fares in the
light of prots and long-term Environmental Management Scheme (EMS) investment.
With all these aforementioned factors, which tend to adjust CG in the twenty-rst
century, we then, in simple reference format, compare and correlate governance in
different nations and view how the American economy inuences world governance by
affecting and inuencing other nations to shift from a relationship-based economy to a
market-based economy. Is this good or bad for CG in the twenty-rst century?
Issues of poor accountancy/auditing practises, corruption and poor governance
practises amongst others are discussed as being the retarding factors to corporate
success in those nations.
Finally, I look at socio-political systems to understand and appreciate whether CG is
a product of heightened interest in corporate activity. Can a nations system of
governance affect how the public view corporations and corporate interests?
We look at the context of what governance is all about, how major corporations affect
the everyday life of an individual, the element of utility, the buying power of consumers,
the returns they get from corporate investments and whether the public can do without
corporate entities – in other words, the clash of corporations over nationalistic/socialist
acceptance. A preview on the negative side reveals aspects like bad governance,
JFC
23,2
350

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