Corporate governance: on the crossroads of meta-regulation and social responsibility

Source of Publication

Journal of Financial Crime


© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss incongruities in the corporate entity over the matter of agency. In lieu of the traditional notion of moral agency theory, the stakeholder model offers congruent grounding to corporate governance. Socially irresponsible or unethical corporate activities are perceived to increase expenses, diminish shareholder value and tarnish business reputations. In contrast, socially responsible corporate practices contribute to positive attitudes to the company and contribute to the creation of competitive advantage. Design/methodology/approach: This paper follows the ongoing evolution of the regulatory changes instituted after the scandalous corporate fiascos of the present century, such as those of Enron and WorldCom in the USA, Polly Peck in the UK, HIH Insurance and One.Tel in Australia, and Siemens in Germany, inter alia. The exposition also touches on the regulatory metamorphosis of corporate governance in its convergence towards “meta-regulation” with corporate social responsibility at the core. Findings: While meta-regulation has so far worked in many countries, caution is expressed over the perils of over-reliance on a meta-regulatory approach. Industries or market sectors should also attempt to operate from the start within the confines of self-regulation and government regulation. Market sectors and industries need to find the framework of regulation that is best suited to their operations. Originality/value: The paper concludes by discussing the observed challenges and implications of such convergence, as well as future directions for law practitioners, academics and researchers in the realm of corporate conduct.

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