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Neither Principles Nor Rules: Making Corporate Governance Work in Sub-Saharan Africa

Nakpodia, Franklin; Adegbite, Emmanuel; Amaeshi, Kenneth; Owolabi, Akintola

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Franklin Nakpodia

Professor in Accounting and Corporate Governance

Kenneth Amaeshi

Akintola Owolabi


Corporate governance is often split between rule-based and principle-based approaches to regulation in different institutional contexts. This split is often informed by the types of institutional configurations, their strengths, and the complementarities within them. This approach to corporate governance regulation is mostly discussed in the context of developed economies and their regulatory demands. However, in developing and weak market economies, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is no such explicit split and the debates on such contexts in the comparative corporate governance literature have been meagre. Nonetheless, there are sparks of good corporate governance practices in the region. Drawing from institutional theory and a case study of a largest economy, we explore the appropriateness or suitability of corporate governance regulatory frameworks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our findings suggest that Nigeria needs an integrated system that combines elements of both rule-based and principle-based regulation, supported by a multi-stakeholder co-regulation strategy. This paper departs from the mainstream rule-based and principle-based categorisations by forging ahead new perspectives on corporate governance regulation, especially in weak market economies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 11, 2016
Online Publication Date May 23, 2016
Publication Date 2018-08
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 13, 2019
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
Print ISSN 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN 1573-0697
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 151
Issue 2
Pages 391-408
Keywords Corporate governance Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria) Principles-based Rule-based Co-regulation Institutional theory Culture
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