Corporate Governance: Models and Processes

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Beyond attention to processes, policies and structures, there are considerable differences in the different kinds of boards in the world today which drive specific considerations to the application of different models.

Standards of corporate governance were not uniform around the world, owing in large part to differences in legal traditions, social and cultural values, and the structure of capital markets in individual countries.

The United States and Britain had adopted a shareholder-centric model of corporate governance (often referred to as the Anglo-Saxon model). This model emphasized the increase in shareholder value, in compliance with national laws and regulations, as the primary objective of the corporation. The unitary board of executive and non-executive directors had an oversight control in the Anglo-Saxon model and was subject to considerable influence by the CEO.

On the flip side, the Germans, along with several European nations, adopted a stakeholder-centric model of governance. This model placed more emphasis on the importance of non-shareholder constituents- labor unions in particular-and reflected the large influence of controlling owners and major German national banks.
The Germans implemented a two-tiered board structure that more clearly separated oversight from engagement.

The Japanese model was built, however around business relationships, with Japanese banks, customers, and suppliers all influencing board-level decisions; but the Korean model had its roots in that country’s emergence from the Korean War.

The Indian model was influenced by a history of powerful family ownership, whereas the Chinese model reflected a transition from communism to a capitalist system.

What then are the current models used in Nigeria (Africa), vis-a vis the challenges of each, bearing in mind that sustainability has become the moral and economic imperative of the 21st century, and as such governance, strategy and sustainability have become inseparable?

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