The paper refers to the development process of corporate governance and shareholder activism in transition economies. It identifies the existing corporate governance structure as well as main problems analysing conflicts in Polish corporations portraying the shareholders' fight for control over the corporations. The analysis of several selected shareholder conflicts, referring particularly to the fights of dominant and minority shareholders allows to point out main shortcomings of corporate governance in transition economies. The lack of standards for corporate behaviour, the poor legal system characterized by weak enforcement of investor protection rights (law in action), the practically non‐existent shareholder litigation as well as the development stage of the shareholder activism. Finally, the paper attempts to trace the development of shareholder protection and ethical behaviour presenting the process of setting high standards for the corporate activity with the reference to transparency, the treatment of minority shareholders and the managerial accountability as well as the monitoring role of authorities carried out by Polish Securities and Exchange Commission and non‐governmental associations or business initiatives (Polish Institutes of Directors, Polish Institute for Investor Relations).
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