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Shareholder rights, telecommunications and director attendance around the world

John Nowland (Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA)

Accounting Research Journal

ISSN: 1030-9616

Article publication date: 1 July 2019




This study aims to document the variation in director attendance rates around the world and investigate the influence of cross-country differences in law and infrastructure on director attendance practices.


Director attendance data are hand-collected from company annual reports and are related to differences in shareholder rights, director liability and transportation and telecommunications infrastructure across countries.


Using a hand-collected data set of 4,344 directorships from 33 countries, the results indicate that director attendance is significantly lower in emerging markets and is positively related to the extent of shareholder rights and the quality of telecommunications infrastructure.


For policymakers and shareholders, the findings of this study indicate that there is substantial variation in director attendance practices around the world. Across all markets, director attendance is higher when the telecommunications infrastructure better enables the potential for virtual attendance, thereby allowing directors to participate in meetings when they cannot be physically present. In emerging markets, director attendance is also higher where there is a stronger emphasis on shareholder rights, highlighting an avenue for improved director attendance by strengthening shareholder involvement in major corporate decisions.



Nowland, J. (2019), "Shareholder rights, telecommunications and director attendance around the world", Accounting Research Journal, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 221-235.



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