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The nature and potential of corporate governance in developing countries: Zambian perceptions

Shikaputo Chanda (Accounting and Finance, Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia)
Bruce Burton (School of Business, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK)
Theresa Dunne (School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Article publication date: 21 August 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide detailed findings regarding the perceived role of corporate governance in Zambia. There have been no detailed studies of opinions in a setting such as Zambia, i.e. a nation which has experienced relative political calm and which has an abundance of natural resources – but where corporate governance failures have been blamed directly for economic difficulties.

Design/methodology/approach

The study reports the results of a series of 24 in-depth interviews with Zambians, including politicians, regulators, senior business executives, transnational organisation representatives, academics and governance consultants. The discussions were conducted face-to-face and recorded in all cases.

Findings

Understanding of corporate governance is at an embryonic stage in Zambia, but embedded corruption is likely to require addressing before any meaningful change is likely. A range of isomorphic forces appear to be prevalent and the study argues that root and branch change in structures and attitudes is a necessity if improvements are to be forthcoming. The paper concludes with a call for unity in purpose and recognition of current malignancies.

Originality/value

Despite Zambia’s idiosyncrasies, the evidence suggests that a pan-African picture is emerging, with growing awareness of the potential benefits of improved corporate behaviour – but deep cynicism exists about the likelihood of these arising given corruption in reward structures. Such is the extent of embeddedness in power amongst those who benefit from current arrangements that both mimetic and coercive forces are argued to be ranged against any shift in extant systems and processes.

Keywords

Citation

Chanda, S., Burton, B. and Dunne, T. (2017), "The nature and potential of corporate governance in developing countries: Zambian perceptions", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1257-1287. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-08-2015-2208

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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