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The ethics of corporate governance: Global convergence or divergence?

G.J. Rossouw (Philosophy Department, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

International Journal of Law and Management

ISSN: 1754-243X

Article publication date: 30 January 2009

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether there is a global divergence or convergence with regard to the ethics of corporate governance.

Design/methodology/approach

Regional perspectives on the ethics of corporate governance from four regions, namely, Africa, Asia, Continental Europe and North America are first briefly introduced and characterized in terms of distinctions between the ethics of governance and the governance of ethics, internal and external corporate governance, and shareholder and stakeholder orientations to corporate governance. Thereafter these regional perspectives are compared in order to determine whether there is a global divergence or convergence with regard to the ethics of corporate governance amongst these four regions of the world.

Findings

There are four factors that potentially may have an impact on the ethics of corporate governance, namely, patterns of ownership, the prevailing view of the role of the firm in a society, cultural and societal norms, and socio‐political priorities. The influence of these factors makes a global convergence on the ethics of corporate governance neither likely nor desirable.

Research limitations/implications

Not all regions of the world were included in this comparative study. Regions that need to be included in future studies are Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Practical implications

The main finding, namely, that a global convergence on the ethics of corporate governance is neither likely nor desirable, should be taken into consideration by promoters of global corporate governance standards.

Originality/value

Based on regional perspectives from Africa, Asia, Continental Europe and North America, the paper provides a global perspective on the question of whether there is global divergence or convergence with regard to the ethics of corporate governance amongst these four regions of the world.

Keywords

Citation

Rossouw, G.J. (2009), "The ethics of corporate governance: Global convergence or divergence?", International Journal of Law and Management, Vol. 51 No. 1, pp. 43-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542430910936673

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited