Introduction: Notions of Governance, Social Contracts and Ethical Perspectives



This text provides an original opportunity to identify and assess implementation and ethical issues relating to corporate governance in Africa. Through specific case studies regarding corporate governance in individual African states and relationships with generic determinants, advice and direction from the international community, this text provides an ethical assessment of issues regarding globalization as an imposition and the necessity of developing countries to adhere to external governance mechanisms. In addition, through the case studies the text will illustrate what may be considered necessary transformations within specific states if governance procedures are to be transparent and ethical so as to facilitate trust, confidence and inward investment. There is recognition that corporate governance contributes to sustainable economic success as well as enhanced credibility and corporate responsibility (Armstrong 2003); each a necessary variable when attracting funding from both regional and foreign investors. ‘Good’ corporate governance practices are also perceived as means of deterring unethical and corrupt practices which may undermine African capability and credibility in the international domain. ‘Good’ corporate governance may also ensure market discipline and transparency (Armstrong 2003). Indeed, ‘standardization of corporate governance … across many different countries may … seem like a sound approach’ (Letza 2015, p. 191). However, because of cultural and historical differences such an approach has largely been resisted. That said, it is not unusual for developing and ‘transition economies to adopt with little modification the established codes and regulations of developed countries’ (ibid). Indeed, local cultures and traditions exist in individual countries and this text identifies relationships between universal and relativist perspectives of corporate governance in Africa. In addition, rationales for acting through self-interest (egoism) and/or the common interest (altruism) underpin the ways agents behave when dealing with moral dilemmas and regulation.


Corporate Governance Social Contract Stakeholder Theory Ethical Perspective Invisible Hand 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of ManagementPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

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