This article provides a definition of corporate governance and highlights the challenges in adapting understanding of governance to the privately-held firm. We emphasize the need to develop the scope of governance in privately-held firms beyond the traditional agency theory focus in the financial economics literature relating to large publicly-listed corporations. There is a need to draw on and integrate an array of theoretical perspectives from both economics and other social science disciplines as well. We present a schematic model of corporate governance which places the contributions presented in the special issue in context and which serves as a guide to highlighting gaps in the research base. We review the principal issues relating to corporate governance in privately-held firms which relate to: governance in different organizational contexts (institutional context; the industrial sector within which the firm finds itself, the ownership context of the firm, and the stage within the firm's life-cycle); the scope of corporate governance; and other internal governance mechanisms to be considered We identify areas for further research on corporate governance in privately-held firms with respect to processes of governance, organizational contexts, assumptions about the owners, executive remuneration, financial reporting, the nature of the dependent variable relating to the expected outcome of different approaches to governance and various methodological issues. We suggest a need to develop governance codes for privately-held firms that are flexible enough to take account of the different types of governance needs of firms at different stages in their life-cycle.

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Small Business Economics: an entrepreneurship journal
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Uhlaner, L., Wright, M., & Huse, M. (2007). Private firms and corporate governance: An integrated economic and management perspective. Small Business Economics: an entrepreneurship journal, 29(3), 225–241. doi:10.1007/s11187-006-9032-z