Accountability and Corporate Governance
42 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2002
Date Written: September 2002
This paper explores the relations between accountability and corporate governance. Although it is a pivotal concept in many fields, accountability remains an elusive concept - close to but different from responsibility. Accountability is best understood as a norm of governance, stipulating particular modes of wielding power and of responses to power in the Hohfeldian sense of this term. Societies that endorse accountability norms in the public or private sphere expect power holders to provide full disclosure and be liable for misdeeds. Accountability is not a universal norm, however. Differences exist between Western and non-Western countries in cultural value preferences compatible with democratic accountability. Within the West, differences in corporate governance paradigms - specifically, the prevalence of shareholder- versus stakeholder-interest norms - are consistent with prevailing value preferences, in line with political theories of corporate governance.
JEL Classification: K00, K22, G38, Z1, Z13
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