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Neither principles nor rules: Making corporate governance work in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Early online date23 May 2016
StateE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2016


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 has been meagre.
Nonetheless, there are sparks of good corporate governance practices in the region. Drawing from institutional theory and a case study of Nigeria–Africa’s 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.

    Research areas

  • corporate governance, , culture, institutional theory, co-regulation, rule-based, principles-based, Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria)

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