Corporate governance in a developing economy: barriers, issues, and implications for firms

John O. Okpara (Associate Professor of Management in the Department of Management, College of Business, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, USA)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Publication date: 12 April 2011



Effective corporate governance is significant for firms in developing countries because it can lead to managerial excellence and help firms with a weak corporate governance structure to raise capital and attract foreign investors. The purpose of this paper is to examine the barriers, issues, and challenges hindering effective development and implementation of corporate governance in Nigeria.


A combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods was employed to collect information. Specifically, data were collected from 296 managers, company presidents, and board of directors in selected firms. Descriptive data and interview analyses are presented with respect to the barriers and issues hindering effective corporate governance development and implementation in Nigeria.


The study provides significant current information on corporate governance and barriers hindering its development and implementation in Nigeria. The findings reveal a number of constraints that hinder the implementation and promotion of corporate governance in Nigeria. These constraints include weak or non‐existent law enforcement mechanisms, abuse of shareholders' rights, lack of commitment on the part of boards of directors, lack of adherence to the regulatory framework, weak enforcement and monitoring systems, and lack of transparency and disclosure.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to four cities in Nigeria. A broader geographic sampling would better reflect the national profile. Another limitation could stem from the procedure used in data collection (drop off and pick up). However, extreme measures were taken to protect the identities of the respondents.


The significance of this study stems from the fact that very few studies have explored the impact of human resource challenges and prospects in Nigeria. The results provide additional insights into corporate governance practices in Nigeria, a sub‐Saharan African country. This region has thus far been neglected by management researchers, and so the insights gained from this study will contribute to the future development of this line of research, particularly in a non‐Western country like Nigeria.



Okpara, J. (2011), "Corporate governance in a developing economy: barriers, issues, and implications for firms", Corporate Governance, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 184-199.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.