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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2018

Mahmoud Arayssi and Mohammad Issam Jizi

The aim of the paper is to examine the association of corporate governance (CG), the firms’ characteristics and the financial performance of firms operating in the Middle East and…

1858

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the paper is to examine the association of corporate governance (CG), the firms’ characteristics and the financial performance of firms operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region after Arab Spring. The study focuses on CG, exemplified by boards’ composition and ownership structure. It also explores the possible moderating effects of environmental social and governance characteristics (ESG), leverage and size on the relationship between CG and the company’s performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Using Thomson-Reuters database, a sample of 67 firms was extracted in the MENA region to measure CG and financial performance post Arab Spring from 2012 to 2016. Panel GLS regression random effects is used to quantify the relationship; robustness is checked by using several alternative regressions and specifications to the performance measure.

Findings

The results reveal that board independence (BI) is negatively correlated with firm profitability but ownership concentration and board gender diversification contribute to profits. When firms that voluntarily form a governance committee are examined, ownership is less concentrated. We obtain a stronger impact of good governance on performance in these firms: board composition, in general, and workers’ satisfaction generate more profits; and undertaking ESG activities become a more dispensable activity. The effect of board size (BS) and forming a governance committee are studied and ensuing recommendations are drawn. In addition, relevant internal control of firms’ characteristics that strongly predict firms’ market values are discussed in the context of agency and stewardship theories.

Originality/value

Despite the fact that governance-performance nexus has been extensively discussed and examined, the focus of this volume of research is on western developed countries. The growing economies of the MENA countries, and the limited governance-performance literature in the MENA context have created a demand to understand the governance environment in these countries and its influence on firm’s performance. In this region where firms’ owners are mainly family members, governments and/or institutions, governance is typically weak; moreover, ownership concentration is expected to guarantee good performance, as the role of independent directors becomes ineffective. For firms where ownership is more diluted, a sound governance system should be established to replace ownership concentration, and to more efficiently monitor management, and consequently improve firm performance. Therefore, this study not only contributes a summary of the prevailing corporate structure in MENA. Moreover, it explains the settings where both the stewardship and agency theories apply in MENA firms. Some recommendation on the importance of changes to the existing governance rules are highlighted in terms of more rules requiring board independence, board gender diversity, limits on board size and establishing governance committees.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2017

Mohammad Issam Jizi and Rabih Nehme

There is a growing attention toward the importance of women’s participation on corporate boards in enhancing board governance and decision-making quality. The literature lacks…

2446

Abstract

Purpose

There is a growing attention toward the importance of women’s participation on corporate boards in enhancing board governance and decision-making quality. The literature lacks sufficient empirical evidence on the relationship between women’s involvement on boards and firms’ risk. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of board gender diversity on firms’ risk.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores the influence of women’s participation on corporate boards on firms’ stock return volatility. The examined firms are all non-financial firms listed on the FTSE 350 index between 2008 and 2013. The Bloomberg database is used to collect the needed variables. Panel data are employed through a regression model to estimate relationships. One-step Arellano and Bond and the generalized method of moments are used to control for reverse causality and the existence of endogenous variables.

Findings

The results suggest that women’s participation on corporate boards favorably impacts firms’ risk by reducing firms’ stock return volatility. The authors also find that the influence of women on reducing stock return volatility is higher in four particular industries recognized by their close proximity to consumers (consumer goods, consumer services, health care, and utilities).

Originality/value

The study contributes to the growing literature on women on boards and offers solid empirical evidence of the correlation between board gender diversity and firms’ risk. The empirical results provide economical and statistical validity to the “voluntary business-led” approach of Davies reports and to the recommendation by the UK Corporate Governance Code 2014 on the favorable influence of board gender diversity for effective functioning.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 36 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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