WHAT IS GOVERNANCE?
Most discussions about governance assume that everyone involved has the same notion of just what ‘governance’ means. In fact, there may be substantial differences in understanding of what it does mean. So the best starting point in any discussion is a common definition, to ensure that everyone is ‘on the same page’. The definition offered here is based on an extensive review of governance literature and validation through my research, teaching and consulting experience.
Governance, is defined here as the dynamic interaction between people, structures, processes and traditions that support the exercise of legitimate authority in provision of sound leadership, direction, oversight, and control of an entity in order to ensure that its purpose is achieved, and that there is proper accounting for the (ethical) conduct of its affairs, the (efficient) use of its resources, and the results of its activities.
The definition of governance and the seven pillars of democratic governance offered here draw from common themes that emerge from governance documents of major organizations such as the OECD, World Bank, Southeast Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Agency, Commonwealth Association of Corporate Governance, and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
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