Posted: July 19th, 2023
Corporate Governance Under Globalization in the U.S. And the U.K.
The failure of governments both domestic and international to provide effective oversight of corporate activities over a period of significant economic growth would precipitate a pattern of misappropriation, corruption and willful mismanagement. This would help to produce our current fiscal crisis as a global community and within powerful economies such as the U.S. And the U.K., with a clear need for stronger and more carefully conceived corporate governance emerging from the dust of countless corporate collapses. And though both the United States and the United Kingdom have responded by adopting stricter controls, the distinction in their respective approaches to addressing issues of corruption may well be in their differing definitions of corporate governance. The research hereafter will therefore compare actions taken practically and legislatively in the U.K. To stem the tide of corruption as these compare to actions taken in the United States. The comparison should lead to a common ground on a generic definition for corporate governance.
Thus, the primary research question at hand here will be to ask what factors have defined and shaped the current thrust toward a more strict and engaged policy approach for the United Kingdom as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of this policy approach. Additional research questions which the research will investigate will concern the nature of policy legislation as it compares to that in the United States, using the comparison as a template for understanding the global concerns which have played heavily into a problematic pattern of corporate deregulation. As a foundational research question, the discussion will query as to the basic and practical definitions for corporate governance, particularly as applies to the U.K. And the United States.
This choice of comparison is inclined by the belief that United States and the United Kingdom share the common interests of furthering the aims of capitalist development, free market enterprising and global free trade. Both nations are extensively backed by historic traditions of corporate development and monopolistic growth and today, both nations have endured no small degree of scandal, corruption or incompetence at the highest ranks of corporate leadership. Two decades of heightened global corporate deregulation served to produce an era of corporate collapse, when revelations of ethical and legal abuses rained down upon the private sectors of the economic world. In response, a discourse and legislative thrust have emerged based on the premise that the period of deregulation is now over and more concerted corporate governance is necessary. Legal considerations concerning both the United States and the United Kingdom serve to demonstrate that in such areas as corporate accounting and trading, the prevailing logic is increasingly that there is a need for stronger oversight on the part of governments with respect to the practices of their corporations. And yet, core distinctions between them exist which inform this discussions formation of a definition for corporate governance.
This logic drives the methodological approach of this discussion, which is primarily inclined by the need to establish a clearer understanding of current legal parameters, philosophical thrusts and critical examination on the subject of corporate governance. Therefore, the methodology will be a literature review, with a comparative analysis driving the presentation of literature sources concerning corporate governance in the U.K. And the U.S. The literature has been selected from a wide array of print and online sources with a direct focus on sources drawn from business ethics, law and corporate management journal articles as well as from the text of key laws such as the Turnbull Report in the U.K. and, as a counterpart for examination, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. The information will, therefore, come from sources in both the U.K. And U.S. which are given credibility by specialization in the fields of corporate governance, globalization or the legal assessment of regulations in the areas of accounting and financial transaction transparency. These are subjects which will emerge as bearing critical importance in the literature review.
Subsequent to a section where we will establish a generic definition for corporate governance and will draw the theoretical support for a need to improve and refine corporate governance, the research will position itself to discussion on the practical realities of corporate governance as an evolving effort in both the U.K. And the U.S., driven by global and domestic patterns which have problematically de-escalated the emphasis on corporate governance. This part of the discussion will also feature an evaluation of the effectiveness of U.K. corporate governance today. The final phase of this discussion will channel these findings into a set of recommendations for the improvement of corporate governance.
Most of the literature evaluated for the purposes of this research was examined under the theoretical auspices that there is a need for stronger corporate governance due both to evidence of the failures inherent to overly-aggressive deregulation and to evidence that the free-trade implications of globalization have encouraged this path to a fault. Thus, the theoretical construction of this argument is postured with an intent to yield suitable recommendations for an organization already involved in the increasingly multinational atmosphere of corporate enterprising. Namely, the bulk of the literature evaluated suggested that there is an inherent flaw in our current approach to globalization which defies the logical demand for sounder corporate governance. This flaw is found in the vacuum between the decline of governmental regulation in parallel to the rise of globalization and the current reluctance of private sector leaders to adopt internal governance strategies to help restrain the process of globalization.
It is here that we consider the necessity for a generic definition of corporate governance that might suit the needs of the diversity of nations invested in globalization. As distinctions arise in our understanding of the U.S. And U.K. In terms of an approach to corporate governance, it becomes important to denote those areas of commonality upon which such a definition can be sought. In achieving such a definition, we find that “classically, corporate governance is divided into four main pillars: Board independence, shareholder treatment, information disclosure and executive remuneration. Constant themes are the protection of shareholder rights (including the equitable treatment of all shareholders), timely and accurate disclosure of information (to analysts and investors), strategy and monitoring of the Board and the supervisory involvement of non-executive directors.” (Jackson & Williams, 1) These conditions are useful in finding a generic definition of corporate governance in that they provide a basis for controlling those aspects which relate propriety and operational effectiveness but which do not pigeonhole governance into a set mold of solutions. Given the difference in the severity of its conditions, the set of corporate governance parameters invoked in recent years between the U.S. And the U.K. is best identified according to purpose rather than practice and procedure.
The purposes of honoring stakeholder interests and of ensuring balance between executive compensation and the provision of public information serves well to suggest a generic definition for corporate governance which distinguishes it as a controlling force ensuring an organization is lead properly, with decision-making and regular operational proceduralism reflecting the desire toward long-term survival, success and security. This definition is underscored by the understanding also discussed throughout this account that corporate governance is a necessary aspect of business orientation that will have a substantial impact on the practical viability of an organization. Accordingly, “the assessment of corporate governance standards is a valid measure of equity risk. There is a clear link between corporate governance assessment and share price volatility, corporate profitability and share price performance.” (Jackson & Williams, 1) Thus, another aspect of the generic definition would be the conception that corporate governance inherently reduces elements of risk and other economic setback.
Therefore, a final definition which is used in application throughout the remainder of this discussion, corporate governance is the process of ensuring company stability and viability through the identification of standard operating procedures and administrative goals that are informed practically, strategically and ethically; as well as through the assurance that stakeholders at every level are considered and honored in such procedures and goals.
Miles Kahler and David a. Lake’s 2001 article, “Globalization and Governance,” would provide a useful basis for an understanding of the patterns of deregulation which have been part and parcel to globalization and which have demanded improved oversight. The understanding which is provided here proceeds from a core theoretical construct which has guided U.K. policy legislation over the course of a decade. Here, the definition of corporate governance proceeds as a process of internal, mandatory and conscientious internal control and review, with the ultimate intent being ethically and legal compliance as well as a guarantee of accountability with respect to corporate leadership. As stated by the 2003 draft of the Internal Control Requirements of the Combined Code, “the guidance is based on the adoption by a company’s board of a risk- based approach to establishing a sound system of internal control and reviewing its effectiveness. This should be incorporated by the company within its normal management and governance processes. It should not be treated as a separate exercise undertaken to meet regulatory requirements.” (ICA, 29) Here is expressed a philosophical impetus that drives the focus of this research, that such compliance which will generally concern matters such as corporate accounting, the practice of internal oversight and the practice of financial transaction must be considered inextricable from other aspects of practical, procedural and legal operation in terms of its relevance and necessity.
The practice of corporate governance may perhaps best be understand from the perspective that deregulation has largely defined the processes and direction of the global economy across the two decades following the Cold War and its inevitable opening of economic channels. This is because in practice, corporate governance is a concept which has suffered much neglect. To the point, the statistics availed by organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund illustrate that there are fomenting problems in the current manner in which globalization is executed based on the absence of any real accountability or governance at the international level. This will be important to the discussion which naturally concerns the deregulation that is inherent to the process of globalization. Additionally, the discussion will address the legislation which has been designed to attend to such issues as accounting irregularities and the need for corporations to develop a stronger internal sense of the necessity for sound ethical practice.
The internationalization of our economy has contributed to a change in the nature of corporate governance. Companies to this juncture operating only under the laws of their sovereign nations would suddenly be presented with a veritable cornucopia of legal and economic alternatives to the historical nation/state limitations of corporate enterprising. Governments large and small would find themselves removed from the help of corporate governance by a redistribution of authority. “Many believe that governments are now being pressed by the forces of globalization to transfer policy functions and political authority “upwards” to supranational entities, “downwards” to provincial and local governments, and “sidewards” to private corporate and NGO actors.” (Kahler et al., 1) the primary implication here is that the change in the nature of the world economy, wherein nations have become increasingly interdependent through relationships forged by the integration of their private sectors, is contributing to a decentralization of decision-making as it effects the responsible and visionary administration of a multinational organization. The result is that a far greater weight is being displaced upon decision-making at the individual organizational level. Federal governments and international alliances have taken a general approach of deregulation, resulting in a condition where globalizing companies and industries essentially must protect themselves against practices which are either short-sighted, economically unsound or absent of a conscientiousness of humanitarian concerns both at home and abroad.
This is to indicate that while the wave of deregulatory consequences has induced a shared consent for the misappropriation which generally characterizes globalization in its current form, this absence of any genuinely effective body for corporate governance is allowing pacesetting organizations to create a new mold for the effective development of appropriate solutions to the problems discussed in this account.
This is why, in practical application, it must fall upon governments in those nations which have so aggressively pursued, enabled and led the process of global deregulation to turn their attention toward real and pressing domestic needs for oversight. In Chapter 4, a focus on the legislation at the heart of this process shows how the U.K. And the U.S. have approached the policy aspects of the issue.
Chapter 4-the Application of Theory to Practice:
The focus on accounting in both the U.K. And the U.S. is demonstrative of the core issues and incidences which have produced the need. This is notable as a direct response to the specific nature of such cases as Enron. Indeed, just as Enron had been a symbol for the perceived economic prosperity of the 90’s, so too would it become emblematic of the malfeasant underbelly of America’s increasingly unregulated and poorly self-governed corporations. In 2002, allegations came to the surface that the organization’s core of executive leaders had misrepresented company earnings, participated in insider-trading and had essentially looted the company of its value.
Through its accounting firm, the likewise large-scaled Arthur Andersen, “Enron lied about its profits and stands accused of a range of shady dealings, including concealing debts.” (BBC News, 1) the company’s top executives had misled investors and shareholders with regard to actual performance indicators and stock values, creating a false investment atmosphere which persisted for years as a front for the embezzlement of top officials. When the company’s collapse became inevitable, its shareholders collectively pulled out, forcing the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Its ethical misappropriation would send a shockwave through the corporate world, contributing to the outright dissolution of control over Arthur Andersen, the destruction of Enron’s employee pension fund, the onset of a federal probe into the company’s clear improprieties and the consequent revelation of an epidemic of corruption in the corporate world at large. And to this last effect, as with Enron, for many other companies guilty of the same fraudulent practices, the consequences would be total collapse.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act would be the most salient legislative product of this outcome, establishing for the first time a government agency charged exclusively with the task of monitoring the accounting practices of corporate auditors. (Skeel, 110) the creation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) as a function of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act would mark the first of such agencies, charged with the specific duty of monitoring industries for accounting malfeasance. Under the umbrella of this new agency, government appointed auditors are expected to ensure accountability in our corporate leadership. This is to say that “after Enron, WorldCom, Parmalat, Ahold, Barings and other headline episodes, auditors promised to improve the quality of their work.” (Sikka, 1) Sarbanes-Oxley contends to help them keep this promise.
In the U.K., the focus has also been cast on the role of accounting and accounting standards with respect to the improvement of corporate governance. In many ways, with such governance on both sides of the Atlantic revolving on issues of financial inconsistency, the role of the accountant has become the central aspect of improving corporate oversight. Though in the past the accounting profession has been seen as a functionary occupation, the practitioners of which are concerned with the presentation of economic figures relating to individual and organizational financial performance, today it is taking center stage in the design of Parliamentary intervention into corporate behavior. Where in the past, accountancy has been seen largely as a field reserved for mathematical grunt-work, with its output serving as indicative of performance rather than incursive upon it, today, that perspective has been altered significantly, for better and for worse.
Accounting functions for those working either within the parameters of the United Kingdom or for accounting firms based in the United Kingdom are manifold. Corporate and private auditing is chief amongst these. As with that which is prescribed by Sarbanes-Oxley to American firms, most corporate entities today are expected to either maintain accounting professionals on staff or to outsource their accounting needs to firms specializing in handling the needs of large business clients. (ASB, 1) by far, the vast majority of top-trading organizations on the London Stock Exchange implement the latter of these strategies, relying on the economic analysis and presentation rendered by external agencies to conduct said audits. In the performance of an audit, the accountancy professional will be expected to examine a corporation’s financial activities in whole. This means that the properly trained accountant will review all spending transactions, revenue and investment activities in order to achieve a whole picture of an organization’s standing. (ASB, 1)
That stated, as we evaluate the relative effectiveness of current U.K. standards on corporate governance, it becomes clear that certain differences in its governance approach are illustrative of a cultural difference between the U.S. And the U.K. As to the generic definition of corporate governance which applies throughout this discussion, it is strengthened by certain common ground between the two nations. For instance “Sarbanes-Oxley, which called for tighter internal company controls, caused a rethink of corporate governance laws in the UK as well, with the publication of the Higgs report, written by Derek Higgs, the former investment banker.” (Tran, 1) in this report, corporate governance in the U.K. would begin to take on its current form, where though greater detail is given on how to invoke disclosure from organizations on transactions and practices where necessary, we would find a system that remains far more voluntary in its imposition of standards.
Evidence suggests that as major corporate scandals continue even now in the years to follow Sarbanes-Oxley to rock such nations as the United States, the more voluntary nature of disclosure in the U.K. has been sufficient in preventing any major developments in terms of corporate collapse. This is no modest accomplishment considering some of the degrees to which the U.K. has worked to avoid the type of restrictive culture imposed by new American governance standards. This is to say that “the UK has resisted taking a mandatory approach and relies on an essentially voluntary system. One change has made a significant difference in Britain. In requiring companies to put compensation packages to a non-binding vote at annual shareholder meetings, investors have had the chance to show their exasperation, notably in the case of GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant.” (Tran, 1) This speaks to an avoidance of government over-empowerment where companies are concerned, instead placing a discretionary power in the hands of shareholders who are intended to be protected by corporate governance. Quite to the point, in the case of GSK, the response of shareholders to a sense that executive bonuses were far too lavish and irresponsible was to vote down “million pound remuneration deals for executives. A revised package was approved this year.” (Tran, 1) This would be a clear demonstration of corporate governance functioning in much the manner that it is intended, with balance here invoking shareholder confidence through empowerment. The result is an accountability which is registering with executives, suddenly at the mercy of shareholders to actually earn their income. Naturally, the conflicts in American corporate governance that allowed for so many executives to behave in so dramatically wrong a fashion suggests that greater levels of strictness are not as effective as shareholder involvement.
To this same point, it becomes clear that Sarbanes-Oxley in the United States is a uniquely strict code yielded as an aggressive reaction to the failures of corporate ethical and practical behavior. The U.K.’s corporate challenges have not been quite as severe, but have of course been impacted by the global nature of the economy. But where new standards in the U.S. demand disclosure of financial transactions and decisions in full detail, “the UK Combined Code works on what is known as a ‘Comply or Explain’ basis; in other words, companies may choose not to comply with specific provisions but, in that case, will have to provide a proper public explanation of their decision.” (ITG, 1) the selectivity which suggests that certain aspects of compliance are voluntary but preferable also denotes that transparency and explanation are specifically to be imposed upon those organizations where a clear demand has arisen.
In other words, the U.K. code is inbuilt with a discretionary nature that has been one of its greatest strengths. The significant financial expenditure and the effort demanded to alter historically entrenched accounting procedures which have come with the imposition of Sarbanes-Oxley can have negative organizational and economic effects. Therefore, the U.K. sets a positive counterpoint by only requiring such additional expenditure or procedural education where failures of basic, satisfying disclosure on transactions is evidenced to have occurred. Today, the U.K. has proven itself a rather sound atmosphere for conducting business operations, with protections for shareholder interest taking a greater prominence even as this remains a context for relative freedom in accounting and securities reporting. Until such time as the U.K. experiences the type of system-wide and catastrophic breakdown as has occurred in the United States, it is fair and appropriate to acknowledge that the U.K.’s corporate governance system is currently both effective and useful as an example to other nations.
In the U.K., the Turnbull Report (2003), and in the U.S., the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (2002), would set forth the basic and overarching theoretical constructs in respective sets of actionable and obligatory applications. In the theory aspect of this discussion, we come to understand that corporate governance is a combination of the external pressures upon a corporation to abide by principles of legality, ethicality and financial transparency and internal operational demands to remain in firm control of the business from a practical and ethical perspective. This latter point drives our consideration of the policy approach taken in such locales as the United States. Indeed, studies of business theory and organizational behavior have both classically and currently held with total consistency the importance of sound business ethics to the success of a business. The role of ethics today, as in the past, is one directly proportional to the ability of an organization to achieve stability, efficiency and profitability as well as to remain within the limitations of the law in terms of policy and practice. Yet, there is stark evidence that the realm of corporate business has been occupied by an increasingly lesser interest in business ethics in favor of corruption, exploitation and short-term gratification.
The discussion cites some prominent examples of corporate collapses in recent history to demonstrate the demand placed upon federal lawmakers to establish Sarbanes-Oxley in some meaningful form. In direct contrast to the current and sustained phase of economic stagnation experienced by the U.S. economy for over half a decade, the mid-1990’s was a period of dramatic and unprecedented economic growth in the United States, where technological evolution and corporate expansion were together feeding a robust and seemingly unlimited skyward momentum. This would prove a false impression by the turn of the millennium, with the economy’s growth as much precipitated on fraudulent corporate accounting, corrupt internal cultures and, ultimately, unsustainable organizational practices, as on actual progress. With the collapse of such major modern upstarts as Enron, Tyco and WorldCom, all of them destroyed internally by the embezzlement, misrepresentation and greed of their own leaders, it would become increasingly apparent that the presence of strong, defined and enforced business ethics codes is a determining factor in the long-term viability of corporations large and small. By the turn of the millennium, this correlation between business ethics and organizational survivability would become incontrovertible, with the decline of such mega-corporations bearing a dramatically ill-effect on economy which has yet to recover. This justifies the central purpose of this account to note that the construction of a sound and clear code of legal conduct, constructed with a direct mode of oversight and means of enforcement is a requisite part of building and maintaining a successful path to corporate governance. Such is to say that, to lawmakers, an all encompassing set of regulatory conditions would be the most amenable path to parsing the challenging legal questions.
Particular elements of Sarbanes-Oxley which are of interest to us in the course of a discussion on its provocation may be found in the way that it addresses the abnormalities in corporate accounting which were epidemic in this time. Specifically, according to Section 302 of the act, there is now in place a legal requirement that “periodic statutory financial reports are to include certifications that “the report does not contain any material untrue statements or material omission or be considered misleading.” (SOXLAW, s302) This aspect of the legislation implements a needed degree of accounting oversight, reflexive of one of the core shortcomings allowing for the corruption which was epidemic in the first part of this decade.
The U.K.’s approach to corporate governance echoes many of the economic values which are apparent and which are sought by U.S. legislation. The counterpart to its Sarbanes-Oxley Act would be the Turnbull Combined Code and Companies Act of 2006, which was designed with the intent of putting fort a definitive set of regulations for guiding the behavior and practices of corporate actors. This is a demonstrative pursuit of closer government oversight in the face of ethical trespasses, financial misappropriation and the general pattern of global deregulation that has made the work of domestic agency more complex. As a source drawn from ITGovernance.co.uk (2008) denotes, “the Turnbull Report – “Internal Control: Guidance for Directors on the Combined Code,” published by the Internal Control Working Party of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales – sets out how directors of listed companies should comply with the UK’s Combined Code requirements in respect of internal controls, including financial, operational, compliance and risk management.” (ITG, 1)
Indeed, especially as we pursue a better understanding of the key role which accounting abnormalities played in the process by which so many companies were critically mismanaged in this era, the focus of the legislation denotes a clear understanding of the need for governance where reporting is concerned. In the introduction of the legislation, Part 5b is delineated with the greatest detail, with the matters of accounting transparency and operational opening serving as the defining parameters. Here, it is asserted that corporate enterprises operating within or incorporated with the United Kingdom are obligated annually to provide “a statement as to whether or not it has complied throughout the accounting period with the Code provisions set out in Section 1 of the Combined Code.” (ICA, 29). Accordingly, the section continues to note that all such companies failing to comply with any aspects of the accounting regulations set forth by the Combined Code must provide clear indication that this non-compliance has occurred, an explanation for the non-compliance and some time-frame for this non-compliance.
Chapter 5: Recommendations-
The best way to improve corporate governance in the U.K. is to begin to ensure that the principles which are espoused by the Turnbull Report are effectively integrated into the educational fabric of U.K. business and accounting schools. The degree to which those newly entering into the business world have been properly acquitted of the evolving parameters which define both legal and ethical responsibilities within the framework of a corporation will have a monumental bearing on the success with which the business culture is changed in general. Therefore improvement will come through a new emphasis on such parameters in the educational setting as well as within the context of internal organizational training.
Indeed, it is thus that we would recommend that each corporation — and especially those which have either suffered from scandal or economic collapse in the past decade — integrate a training program which elucidates these new aspects of mandatory corporate governance both to new recruits and to those already ingrained into the structure of the company. Clarity, an awareness of that which is expected and a responsibility to report with accuracy true conditions in the company should all be emphasized as personnel come to exist under a set of restraints dictated by sound operational policy.
More than any other force, at present, the fundamental problem rests in the incapacity, or the general unwillingness, of either governments — developed or developing — and multinational corporations, to establish standards that are both far-reaching and enforceable.
Therefore, the notion of corporate social responsibility, implied earlier in this account, paired with the more aggressive enforcement of existing laws, should serve as an effective means to better restraining the unfair practices or violations of companies in either the United States or the United Kingdom. Certainly, in both we can see that the problem is similar and the selected legislative path proceeds from the understanding that accounting irregularities have become a gateway to bypassing proper authorities and parameters of practice.
In the estimation of this discussion, such forces as globalization have already impacted corporate governance by loosening its reigns to an inestimable degree. For American corporations, the incentives for moving operations abroad include the evasion of aspects of the American tax burden, fundamentally cheaper resources, land and labor and an evasion of American environmental laws comparably stronger than those of many of the countries in which we now have a significant corporate presence. And for British firms, the robustness of the European Union and the Euro promote the same expatriation of commerce. However, these are not actually inevitably byproducts of the process of globalization. These are instead the consequences of the willful desire of many organizations and governments to achieve quick profits at the expense of ethical sustainability, economic practicality and long-term viability. While these may be appealing incentives to organizational leaders bent on exploitation and the corruption of the corporate entity, they are irrelevant in our case. Our interest in the long-term sustainability of the organization dictates that our purposes in adopting an approach of globalization must be practical rather than exploitive, as must be the domestic approach toward corporate orientation. In both, the damage of more than a decade of deregulation reveals the need for far firmer central oversight and the guiding administration of federal authorities in shaping and keeping standards for accounting regularity and corporate governance.
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You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!
Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.