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What is Governance?

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was just reviewing comments (on LinkedIn) about my post asking about views on the value of the term “GRC”. One individual wrote at length about the G standing for Government, and that Governance was the actions of Government. It got me thinking about what Governance really is. (You can assume we are talking about either “Organizational Governance” or “Corporate Governance”.)

Here are a few definitions of Governance. Which do you like (extra credit if you can name the source)?

  1. “The system by which companies are directed and managed. It influences how the objectives of the company are set and achieved, how risk is monitored and assessed, and how performance is optimized.”
  2. “A set of relationships between a company’s management, its board, its shareholders and other stakeholder. Corporate governance also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set, and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance are determined.”
  3. “The culture, policies, processes, laws, and institutions that define the structure by which companies are directed and managed. Corporate governance includes the relationships among stakeholders and the goals for which the corporation is governed.”
  4. “The system by which companies are directed and controlled. Boards of directors are responsible for the governance of their companies.”
  5. “Corporate governance is a scheme for ensuring that the executive managers, who have been placed in charge of the company, fulfill their duties.”
  6. “The combination of processes and structures implemented by the board to inform, direct, manage, and monitor the activities of the organization toward the achievement of its objectives.”
  7. “The culture, policies, processes, laws, and institutions that define the structure by which companies are directed and managed.”

Do you have a preference? If so, why? If not, why not?

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