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Book part
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Helen Wei Hu and Ilan Alon

Stewardship theory is an emergent approach for explaining leadership behavior, challenging the assumptions of agency theory and its dominance in corporate governance…

Abstract

Purpose

Stewardship theory is an emergent approach for explaining leadership behavior, challenging the assumptions of agency theory and its dominance in corporate governance literature. This study revisits the agency and stewardship theories by seeking to answer whether chief executive officers (CEOs) in China are committed stewards or opportunistic agents.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on 5,165 observations of 1,036 listed companies in China over the period 2005–2010, the results suggest that the corporate governance mechanisms developed from the agency theory in the West are not necessarily applicable in the Chinese context.

Findings

This study supports the stewardship theory in its findings that empowering CEOs through the practice of CEO duality and longer CEO tenure have a positive effect on firm value in China. Additionally, the positive relationships between CEO duality, CEO tenure and firm value are strengthened by the number of executive directors on the board, and weakened by the number of independent directors on the board.

Practical implications

One size does not fit all. Leadership behaviors in China do not follow the agency assumptions inherent in Western practices, rather they favor the conditions of positive leadership expressed by the stewardship theory. Assuming that the motivations of managers in emerging markets such as China are similar to those in the West may lead to a poor fit between governance policies and the institutional context.

Originality/value

As one of the few studies to connect the theoretical debate between the agency and stewardship theories, this study presents new evidence to support the stewardship theory, thereby strengthening its theoretical importance and relevance in corporate governance literature.

Details

Emerging Market Firms in the Global Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-066-7

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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2018

John Dumay, Matteo La Torre and Federica Farneti

This paper examines the gap between reporting and managers’ behaviour to challenge the current theoretical underpinnings of intellectual capital (IC) disclosure practice…

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2006

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the gap between reporting and managers’ behaviour to challenge the current theoretical underpinnings of intellectual capital (IC) disclosure practice and research. The authors explore how the key features from IC and integrated reporting can be combined to develop an extended model for companies to comply with EU Directive 2014/95/EU and increase trust in corporate disclosures and reports.

Design/methodology/approach

This essay relies on academic literature and examples from practice to critique the theories that explain corporate disclosure and reporting but do not change management behaviour. Based on this critique, the authors argue for a change in the fundamental theories of stewardship to frame a new concept for corporate disclosure incorporating using a multi-capitals framework.

Findings

We argue that, while the inconsistency between organisations’ reporting and behaviour persists, increasing, renewing or extending the information disclosed is not enough to instil trust in corporations. Stewardship over a company’s resources is necessary for increasing trust. The unanticipated consequences of dishonest behaviour by managers and shareholders compels a new application of stewardship theory that works as an overarching guide for managerial behaviour and disclosure. Emanating from this new model is a realisation that managers must abandon agency theory in practice, and specifically the bonus contract.

Research limitations/implications

We call for future empirical research to explore the role of stewardship theory within the dynamics of corporate disclosure using the approach. The research implications of those studies should incorporate the potential impacts on management behaviours within a stewardship framework and how those actions, and their outcomes, are disclosed for rebuilding public trust in business.

Practical implications

The implications for integrated reporting and reports complying with the new EU Directive are profound. Both instruments rely on agency theory to coax managers into reducing information asymmetry by disclosing more. However, agency theory only re-affirms the power managers have over corporate information. It does not change their behaviour, nor to act in the interest of all stakeholders as the stewards of an organisation’s resources.

Social implications

We advocate that, in business education, greater emphasis is needed on how stewardship has a more positive impact on management behaviour than agency, legitimacy and stakeholder theories.

Originality/value

We reflect on the current and compelling issues permeating the international landscape of corporate reporting and disclosure and explain why current theories which explain corporate disclosures do not change behaviour or engender trust in business and offer an alternative disclosure model based on stewardship theory.

Details

Journal of Intellectual Capital, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1469-1930

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Andrew Keay

The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that notwithstanding the fact that stewardship theory embraces things like trust of directors, their professionalism, loyalty…

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4365

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that notwithstanding the fact that stewardship theory embraces things like trust of directors, their professionalism, loyalty and willingness to be concerned for the interests of others, as well as rejecting the foundations of classic agency problems that are asserted by agency theory, board accountability is as relevant to stewardship theory as it is to agency theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper applies the theory underlying board accountability in corporate governance, which is so often applied both in the corporate governance literature and in practice with agency theory in mind, to stewardship theory.

Findings

While the idea of accountability of boards is generally associated with an explanation and conceptualisation of the role and behaviour of directors as agents within classic agency theory, the paper demonstrates that board accountability is a necessary part of board life even if the role of directors is explained and conceptualised in terms of stewardship theory.

Practical implications

The paper suggests some accountability mechanisms that might be employed in a stewardship approach.

Originality/value

While many authors have talked in general terms about board accountability and its importance, this is the first paper that has engaged in a substantial study that links board accountability directly with stewardship theory, and to establish that accountability is necessary.

Details

International Journal of Law and Management, vol. 59 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-243X

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Article
Publication date: 22 December 2020

Tianyu Ma, Zhuofu Wang, Miroslaw Jan Skibniewski, Jiyong Ding, Ge Wang and Qinghua He

This research aims to analyzes how megaproject top managers engaged in stewardship behaviors. Studying megaprojects from the micro-foundations rooted in individual action…

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to analyzes how megaproject top managers engaged in stewardship behaviors. Studying megaprojects from the micro-foundations rooted in individual action and interaction, this research examines the gaps between literature and top managers' positive behavior to challenge the current theoretical underpinnings of megaproject governance research and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

An extensive literature review was performed in the initial phase. Then, a case study of South-to-North Water Diversion project was conducted based on following this project and on access to its top executives. Data was collected from multiple sources and analyzed by Nvivo (version 12). Further analysis was then carried out in two stages to identify megaproject stewardship behavior and related governance patterns.

Findings

Results show that stewardship behavior is prevalently existing and is possibly to be identified through psychological, situational, relational dimensions. Also, 16 factors have been found to describe the precise nature of megaproject stewardship behavior. Further explorative findings were discussed from three perspectives: possible theoretical development, self-actualization motivation and temporalities of megaprojects.

Originality/value

Building upon the ideas on how to extend steward theory towards project field, this research conducts a first exploration of stewardship behavior in megaprojects. This study contributes to complement the research into top-level organizational behavior in megaprojects, and it provides helpful implications for how to govern top managers in the following megaprojects with the cooperative spirit that can be valued by megaproject stakeholders.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Martin R. W. Hiebl

This paper aims to explore the differing attitudes of salaried chief financial officers (CFOs) that can be associated with agency theory and stewardship theory. CFO…

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1513

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the differing attitudes of salaried chief financial officers (CFOs) that can be associated with agency theory and stewardship theory. CFO attitudes are investigated because CFOs typically face additional agency conflict in their roles as overseers of the financial and accounting functions that are responsible for the production of numerical information used as a basis for incentive compensation.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative field study of 14 large privately held Austrian manufacturing companies was conducted. The findings rely on information retrieved from 18 semi-structured interviews conducted with individuals from these companies.

Findings

The findings reveal a number of contextual factors that influence stewardship and agency attitudes of salaried CFOs. CFOs, who mainly report formally to owners, perceive more control in the hands of the owners. Short-term management appointments appear to facilitate agency-like behavior, whereas the existence of owner–managers and the typical CFO's maturity in terms of age and wealth seem to nurture stewardship behavior.

Research limitations/implications

Further (quantitative) research is needed to corroborate the findings in this study, which are derived from a qualitative research approach. Further research on agency and stewardship behavior should also include the view of principal with respect to agent actions, as this paper shows that principal opinion strongly affects the way agents perceive control.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that the behavior of company owners can influence and change a manager's agency or stewardship attitude. Owners who desire a culture of stewardship should set long-term goals and facilitate long-term management appointments. Moreover, owners can lower a manager's perceived level of owner control by adopting an active role in management.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to analyze stewardship and agency attitude of salaried CFOs in privately held companies. It, therefore, adds to the current literature on the role of the CFO, as well as to the literature on governance issues in privately held firms.

Details

Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4179

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Wendy L. Pirie and Michael K. McCuddy

The purpose of this paper is to provide an initial test of the validity of an intertemporal stewardship theory. This theory incorporates stewardship considerations, based…

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1217

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an initial test of the validity of an intertemporal stewardship theory. This theory incorporates stewardship considerations, based on a foundation of spirituality, as well as financial considerations into financial decision‐making models.

Design/methodology/approach

Contends that successful contemporary companies incorporate both financial and stewardship considerations into their decision making. Fortune magazine's Global Most Admired Companies list was used to define company success. Using Fortune's reputational criteria, companies were differentiated in terms of level of success. Hypotheses were developed about the articulation of and emphasis on financial considerations and stewardship considerations as evidenced by the corporate mission for highly successful vs less successful companies. The hypotheses were tested using paired t‐tests on mission statement data developed for the top‐, middle‐, and bottom‐ranked companies in each of the global industry categories in the 2002 Fortune magazine list. The intent was to determine if hypothesis‐relevant features of the mission statements significantly differed for the companies that were ranked at the top, middle, and bottom of their industries.

Findings

The results of this analysis indicate that organizational success cannot be achieved by focusing primarily on financial or stewardship considerations, but rather company success depends upon emphasizing both financial and stewardship considerations within the context of a clearly articulated mission focus.

Research limitations/implications

The research should be extended to cover more than a one‐year period. This will result not only in a test of validity over time but also a larger sample size.

Practical implications

The practical implications are threefold – for managers and for business professors and researchers. Managers should ensure that mission statements are sufficiently well articulated and focused, and that both financial and stewardship considerations are sufficiently emphasized. Business professors and researchers should use a new paradigm – incorporating both stewardship and financial considerations – for teaching and thinking about business and for conducting meaningful and realistic research.

Originality/value

The preeminence of financial considerations in business decision making is challenged in this article. We find that the most successful companies incorporate stewardship considerations as well as financial considerations into their decision making, at least as it is reflected in their missions. This article provides evidence that decision making can no longer be devoid of stewardship considerations if an organization is to survive and prosper over the long term.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 33 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

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Book part
Publication date: 27 November 2014

Massimo Contrafatto

This article focuses on the lesser-used notion of stewardship and stewardship-ism. Stewardship is a concept that has inspired the activities of several organizations whose…

Abstract

This article focuses on the lesser-used notion of stewardship and stewardship-ism. Stewardship is a concept that has inspired the activities of several organizations whose mission is to preserve, protect and maintain natural, social and economic assets for the benefit of stakeholders and communities. As observed by Contrafatto and Bebbington (2013), stewardship has some resonance with current policy agendas that attend to the issues related to sustainable development, corporate social responsibility and accountability. Most of the existing works on stewardship provide several perspectives with the focus being either on normative foundations of stewardship or on its organizational and managerial implications. In particular, the stewardship-related literature offers a range of conceptions and approaches ranking from a relatively narrow view of the resources, sources and time frame of stewardship to very broad specification. In this article, the management, organization and accounting literature is analysed to propose a map of current theorizing on stewardship. In particular, drawing on the methodological approach adopted by Lowndes (1996), four theoretical vignettes have been proposed to illustrate different variants and approaches in stewardship framework. Each vignette provides a set of conceptual constructs, ideas and views to understand stewardship and stewardship-inspired behaviour. The variety of approaches/perspectives on stewardship, as illustrated from the analysis undertaken in this article, provides an opportunity for deeper theory-based understanding of social and organizational dynamics. In particular, it is argued that the richness of perspectives, focus and levels of analysis could offer insights to conceptualize, see and make sense of some of the challenges that are posed by a desire for promoting transition towards more sustainable ways of organizing our society.

Details

Accountability and Social Accounting for Social and Non-Profit Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-004-9

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Michael K. McCuddy and Wendy L. Pirie

The purpose of this paper is to develop a theory of intertemporal stewardship that incorporates stewardship, based on a foundation of spirituality, into financial…

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3285

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a theory of intertemporal stewardship that incorporates stewardship, based on a foundation of spirituality, into financial decision‐making models.

Design/methodology/approach

Argues that stewardship, which shares some common ground with sustainable development, must become an integral component of financial decision‐making. Using agency theory as a point of departure, discusses the Anglo‐American and Continental European‐Japanese models of financial decision‐making, and how they can be reformulated to embrace stewardship and the spiritual foundation upon which stewardship is based. The key to linking spirituality and stewardship is our concept of self‐fullness – the simultaneous pursuit of reasonable self‐interest and reasonable concern for the common good of all human beings. The reformulated model of financial decision‐making is labeled intertemporal stewardship theory.

Findings

The merger of spirituality, stewardship, and financial decision‐making is crucial for the survival and prosperity of businesses and the people they serve. The failure of businesses in the new economy can be traced to the loss of values regarding spirituality and stewardship.

Research limitations/implications

Empirical research must be conducted to test the validity of the proposed intertemporal stewardship theory.

Practical implications

It is essential that managers base their decisions on internalized spiritual and stewardship values that they do not “park at the door” when they arrive at work. Managers should never lose sight of these values, and their decisions should always be grounded in these values. Without such grounding, it is very possible that once again managers will be caught in a cycle of “irrational exuberance”. Therefore, it is critical that these values become not only an integral part of financial decision‐making but also an integral part of education for financial decision‐making.

Originality/value

The financial bottom line is that financial decision‐making can no longer be devoid of spiritual and stewardship considerations if an organization is to survive and prosper over the long term. Neither can business organizations deny spirituality and stewardship considerations if they are to be socially responsible members of society, contributing to and upholding a moral existence for all humanity. In this sense then, the conception of intertemporal stewardship theory that is offered in this paper takes a step toward realizing these greater goals.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 33 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2020

Ann Sophie K. Löhde, Giovanna Campopiano and Andrea Calabrò

Challenging the static view of family business governance, we propose a model of owner–manager relationships derived from the configurational analysis of managerial…

Abstract

Purpose

Challenging the static view of family business governance, we propose a model of owner–manager relationships derived from the configurational analysis of managerial behavior and change in governance structure.

Design/methodology/approach

Stemming from social exchange theory and building on the 4C model proposed by Miller and Le Breton-Miller (2005), we consider the evolving owner–manager relationship in four main configurations. On the one hand, we account for family businesses shifting from a generalized to a restricted exchange system, and vice versa, according to whether a family manager misbehaves in a stewardship-oriented governance structure or a nonfamily manager succeeds in building a trusting relationship in an agency-oriented governance structure. On the other hand, we consider that family firms will strengthen a generalized exchange system, rather than a restricted one, according to whether a family manager contributes to the stewardship-oriented culture in the business or a nonfamily manager proves to be driven by extrinsic rewards. Four scenarios are analyzed in terms of the managerial behavior and governance structure that characterize the phases of the relationship between owners and managers.

Findings

Various factors trigger managerial behavior, making the firm deviate from or further build on what is assumed by stewardship and agency theories (i.e. proorganizational versus opportunistic behavior, respectively), which determine the governance structure over time. Workplace deviance, asymmetric altruism and patriarchy on the one hand, and proorganizational behavior, relationship building and long-term commitment on the other, are found to determine how the manager behaves and thus characterize the owner's reactions in terms of governance mechanisms. This enables us to present a dynamic view of governance structures, which adapt to the actual attitudes and behaviors of employed managers.

Research limitations/implications

As time is a relevant dimension affecting individual behavior and triggering change in an organization, one must consider family business governance as being dynamic in nature. Moreover, it is not family membership that determines the most appropriate governance structure but the owner–manager relationship that evolves over time, thus contributing to the 4C model.

Originality/value

The proposed model integrates social exchange theory and the 4C model to predict changes in governance structure, as summarized in the final framework we propose.

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Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Danny Woosik Choi, Hyun Kyung Chatfield and Robert Evans Chatfield

This study aims to empirically investigate agency and stewardship theories in the US lodging market by examining the influence of fiscal and non-fiscal leadership…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to empirically investigate agency and stewardship theories in the US lodging market by examining the influence of fiscal and non-fiscal leadership structures on the debt financing decisions of lodging firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Secondary financial data have been collected for USA-based lodging firms. Subsequently, bivariate correlation, pooled ordinary least square) and endogeneity analyses have been performed on the data.

Findings

The findings support the significant influence of some corporate governance attributes on the capital structure of US lodging firms and show the limited applicability of agency and stewardship theories.

Practical implications

Theoretical and managerial implications are suggested in terms of balancing leadership structure attributes from the agency and stewardship theories, the capital structure of lodging firms and the future research.

Originality/value

Despite its importance considering the intensive capital and relatively high liabilities needed for success in the lodging industry, the influence of leadership structure on capital structure has not been examined either empirically or theoretically. Leadership structure attributes, both fiscal and non-fiscal, are included in the study to gain a richer understanding of their influence. The outcomes of the analysis suggest managerial implications for leadership structure as well as theoretical generalizability for agency and stewardship theories within the lodging industry.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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