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Toward a political economy of corporate governance change and stability in family business groups: A morphogenetic approach

Shaila Ahmed (Essex Business School, University of Essex, Colchester, UK)
Shahzad Uddin (Essex Business School, University of Essex, Colchester, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 5 September 2018

Issue publication date: 2 November 2018

1362

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate a political economy of corporate governance (CG) change and stability in family business groups (BGs) and assist in explaining why certain CG reforms fail in one context but work in others.

Design/methodology/approach

Three BGs in Bangladesh are studied. A mixture of data sources is used, namely interviews, observations of practices, historical documentation, company reports and research papers and theses. The results are analysed by applying Archer’s morphogenetic approach, focussing on both macro- and micro-processes of change.

Findings

A newly-adopted CG framework, which created incentives and pressures for family directors to act in the best interests of general shareholders, did not seem to alter apparently simple but complex internal structural set-ups. Thus, regulatory efforts to empower general shareholders did not produce the expected results. Following Archer’s morphogenetic approach, the authors identify key structural conditioning or emergent properties and agential strategies to explain why and how BGs opted for symbolic compliance and achieved lax regulation and enforcement.

Research limitations/implications

The paper opens up a new methodological and theoretical space for future CG research, especially by applying a meta-theoretical guideline such as the morphogenetic approach, for nuanced explanation and a more inclusive understanding of CG practices, reform and change in different organisational and institutional settings.

Originality/value

The morphogenetic approach aids in developing a political economy of CG change and stability and provides a nuanced explanation of CG practices. This is illustrated through an exploration of CG change initiatives in Bangladeshi BGs.

Keywords

Citation

Ahmed, S. and Uddin, S. (2018), "Toward a political economy of corporate governance change and stability in family business groups: A morphogenetic approach", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 2192-2217. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-01-2017-2833

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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