Principal-Agent Theory In Corporate Governance

1283 Words6 Pages
It is an acknowledged fact that the principal-agent theory is generally considered the starting point for any debate on the issue of corporate governance emanating from the classical thesis on The Modem Corporation and Private Property by (Heracleous, 2001). According to this thesis, the fundamental agency problem in modem firms is primarily due to the separation between shareholders and management. Modem firms are seen to suffer from separation of ownership and control and therefore are run by professional managers (agents) who cannot be held accountable by dispersed shareholders. In this regard, the fundamental question is how to ensure that managers follow the interests of shareholders in order to reduce costs associated with principal-agency…show more content…
Again, the theory points out that organization usually tend to reduce the uncertainty of external influences by ensuring that resources are available for their survival and development. By implication, this theory seems to suggest that the issue of dichotomy between executive and non-executive directors is actually irrelevant. How then does a firm operate efficiently? To resolve this problem, the theory indicates that what is relevant is the firm’s presence on the boards of directors of other organizations to establish relationships in order to have access to resources in the form of information which could then be utilized to the firm’s advantage. Hence, this theory shows that the strength of a corporate organization lies in the amount of relevant information it has at its disposal. Corporate boards are responsible for major decisions like changing corporation’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, issuing of shares, declaration of dividends, etc. This explains to some extent, the reason why discussions on corporate governance usually focus on boards. The board of directors is the “apex” of the controlling system in an organization and is there to monitor the activities of top management to ensure that the interests of shareholders are protected (Jensen, 1993). It acts as the fulcrum between the owners…show more content…
A stakeholder’s decision to either provide or cease to provide resources to the organization is the culmination of complex considerations that coalesce within an overall evaluation of the organization’s reputation. Stakeholders are uniquely positioned to affect the FP of the organization whether through withholding or providing efforts (e.g. employees), infrastructure (e.g. government or cash flow (e.g. customers), among other things Rowley and Berman, 2000).Jones & Wicks, (1999) critique the Stakeholders theory for assuming a single-valued objective (gains that accrue to a firm’s constituencies). The argument of (Valdes, 1997) suggests that the performance of a firm is not and should not be measured only by gains to its stakeholders. Other key issues such as flow of information from senior management to lower ranks, inter-personal relations, working environment, etc are all critical issues that should be considered. Some of these other issues provided a platform for other arguments as discussed later. An extension of the theory called an enlightened stakeholder theory was proposed. However, problems relating to empirical testing of

More about Principal-Agent Theory In Corporate Governance

Open Document