Corporate Governance

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DEFINITION of 'Corporate Governance'

The system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of the many stakeholders in a company - these include its shareholders, management, customers, suppliers, financiers, government and the community. Since corporate governance also provides the framework for attaining a company's objectives, it encompasses practically every sphere of management, from action plans and internal controls to performance measurement and corporate disclosure.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Corporate Governance'

Corporate governance became a pressing issue following the 2002 introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S., which was ushered in to restore public confidence in companies and markets after accounting fraud bankrupted high-profile companies such as Enron and WorldCom.

Most companies strive to have a high level of corporate governance. These days, it is not enough for a company to merely be profitable; it also needs to demonstrate good corporate citizenship through environmental awareness, ethical behavior and sound corporate governance practices.

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