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An Institutional Perspective on Corporate Governance  

Ilir Haxhi

Concerned with the structure of rights and responsibilities among corporate actors, corporate governance focuses primarily on the monitoring of executive boards, the protection of minority shareholders, corporate reporting and disclosure, and the improvement of employee participation in the corporate decision-making process. An institutional theory–driven approach helps position corporate governance as a social construct that reflects formal institutional rules as well as the informal practices that prevail when formal rules are absent, weak, or ambiguously defined. The institutional context thus constitutes a framework for corporate governance that captures not only the internal structures of corporations but also the institutional arrangements and national business systems in which these corporations are embedded. The actor-centered institutional perspective provides a comprehensive, in-depth, and nuanced picture not only of current governance structures but also of the characteristics and practices that prevail within and across different corporate governance models. Overall, adopting an institutional perspective underscores the importance of recognizing that corporate governance at the national level remains a key unit of analysis for explaining its diversity because it highlights the role of national institutions and their powerful institutional actors.