Corporate Governance refers to the framework in a company comprising the generally accepted practices, policies and processes according to which the firm operates and is managed.
Corporate governance has become an essential component in the functioning of a company, and it has the potential of causing an improved or enhanced market performance. Corporate governance primarily focusses on creating transparency, accountability, and disclosure in the corporate environment. In other words, it promotes ethical practices in the company, allows for efficient communication of information, and proper allocation of responsibility. Another important function of corporate governance is to maintain a judicious balance between the interests of the stakeholders and board of directors. The board of directors are primarily responsible for the operational decisions and processes of the company, and it is imperative to outline their authority with respect to the stakeholders to ensure mutual cooperation and corporate success.
With regard to India, corporate governance has been on the up rise mainly due to globalization and liberalization. The SEBI had made the first ever regulations on corporate governance in 2000, based on the recommendations of the Kumar Mangalam Birla Committee Report and Narayan Murthy Committee Report. With the many national and multinational corporations coming up in India in the face of globalization, there was a need to introduce corporate governance so as to confront the competition that has arisen. Therefore, it is apparent that good corporate governance ensures mutual cooperation and protects the long-term interests of the shareholders. The question then arises whether good corporate governance is also proactively helping companies in their regular financial performance.
The Effects of Corporate Governance on Financial Performance
The financial performance of a firm indicates how successful it has been in its business, and whether it has been able to effectively use its assets in generating revenue. The role that corporate governance plays in benefiting financial performance of Indian companies has been studied extensively over the past years, and varying conclusions can be derived from these studies. The many variables and principles of corporate governance have been studied in the Indian corporate environment so as to ascertain their impact on financial performance. These can be consolidated as such:
- Board Size: A study conducted by researchers Kathuria and Dash observed the influence of the Board size on financial performance of Indian companies. The results showed that performance improved when the size of the board increased, and that a smaller board of directors was generally not influential in financial growth. Corporate governance principles necessitate that the board of directors collaborate with the other corporate entities so as to ensure better performance.
- Board Independence: An independent director is one who does not have any vested interest in the company, and works solely to improve the corporate position and credibility of the firm. They also play a large role in enforcing corporate governance standards. Numerous studies conducted with regard to board independence in the Indian context have showed that a larger proportion of independent board directors is associated with improved financial performance.
- Board Meetings and Committees: As corporate governance principles require the company to maintain transparency and disclosure, conduction of regular board meetings is required. It has been found that Indian companies conducting regular board meetings has caused a better financial performance, as there is constant discussion of the company’s operations and decisions are made that positively impact the company.
Therefore, from the research conducted, it is evident that sound corporate governance and its implementation in Indian companies has the potential of positively impacting financial performance and growth. Some of the more general reasons why corporate governance is seen as a stimulant of financial growth are:
- Increased access to financing
- Higher firm valuation
- Improvement in operational performance
- Reduced risk of financial crises
Ultimately, it can be inferred that the impact of corporate governance on Indian companies has been known to be favourable for the most part. However, it is important to highlight an important point here. It cannot be concluded that corporate governance has a positive effect on all Indian companies, or for all companies in general. For some there may be an insignificant impact, while for others there might be no impact at all. However, for most companies in most industries, corporate governance implies support in the financial position. Factors mentioned in this paper such as board size, independency, composition, meetings and committees mostly seem to show a positive relationship with financial performance of Indian companies.
The primary goal with which corporate governance is introduced into a company is to increase transparency, disclosure and accountability, which subsequently gives way to other long-term benefits including financial stability and growth. Therefore, many Indian companies are increasingly looking to practice corporate governance. In conclusion, despite the fact that there is no consensus on whether corporate governance has an undeniable positive impact on financial and firm performance, it can be said that it helps the company in many facets regardless.