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Corporate governance: evidence from Islamic banks

Ali R. Almutairi (Department of Accounting, College of Business Administration, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait)
Majdi Anwar Quttainah (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business Administration, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



This paper aims to examine the impact of Shari’ah supervisory boards (SSBs) on the performance of Islamic banks (IBs). It also tests whether SSBs’ attributes affect the performance of IBs. Based on a sample of 1,803 Islamic bank-year observations from 82 banks in 15 countries over the period 1993-2014 and controlling for factors known to affect bank performance, this study reveals a robust and significant positive relationship between SSBs and Islamic bank performance. This study also shows that the characteristics of SSBs affect the performance of IBs. This research reveals how SSBs influence the performance of IBs, as well as the processes and roles SSBs use to ensure Shari’ah compliance in business transactions.


The purpose of this study design is to relate SSB presence, size and diversity to financial performance using three techniques. The first technique is a multivariate data analysis that analyzes data arising from more than one variable. The second technique is a clustered regression (clustering by bank), which corrects for serial correlation and produces unbiased t-statistics. Because this sample is drawn from panel data, it is expected serial autocorrelation of the independent variables and error term within banks. In cases where within-company correlation exists, t-statistics based on average regression coefficients from year-by-year regression are upwardly biased and potentially severe (Peterson, 2009). Therefore, this study uses a technique that agrees with Stock and Watson (2002), who show that the standard method of calculating heteroskedasticity-robust standard errors for the fixed-effects estimator generates inconsistent variance estimates. Thus, using the clustered regression is consistent with the fixed-effects estimator. The third technique is a two-stage least-squares regression that helps build an instrumental variable for robustness tests purposes.


The findings suggest that large corporate boards and large SSBs are more efficient in dealing with different monitoring and advisory roles than small SSBs. Consequently, this suggests that increasing the size of corporate boards and SSBs should improve monitoring and advisory functions, management behavior and organizational performance.

Research limitations/implications

It is possible that there is an upper limit to this benefit, however; we do not explore this limit, which therefore provides opportunities for additional research. Because Shari’ah compliance relates only to a rational legal framework of negative screening relegated to interest prohibition and limiting uncertainty. The interest prohibition and limiting uncertainty have not been investigated between the two samples due to data unavailability. In addition, limited accounting-based measures of financial performance may not accurately portray IB performance; hence, an additional market measure is implemented, which is Tobin’s Q.

Practical implications

Ultimately, these findings could help IBs improve their financial results by enhancing their internal and external governance mechanisms (Walsh and Seward, 1990). They provide a basis for developing larger, more diverse SSBs that are more focused on complying with Shari’ah and corporate governance. The results also have significant policy implications for improving firm-level corporate governance versus improving country-level institutional factors. Both views have their advocates. However, it is very difficult to reform the legal system in a short time. Still, this study shows that struggling IBs have a way to improve their corporate governance and simultaneously improve their financing environment.


This research contributes to the literature on the effects of SSBs on IBs’ organizational financial performance, processes and roles. It is the first to examine empirically the underpinnings of how SSBs affect organizational financial performance via agency theory and contingency theory.



Almutairi, A.R. and Quttainah, M.A. (2017), "Corporate governance: evidence from Islamic banks", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 601-624.



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