Convergence of Corporate Governance: Critical Review and Future Directions


*Toru Yoshikawa, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4M4. Tel: 905-525-9140 Ext.20090; E-mail:


Manuscript Type: Review

Research Question/Issue: Convergence in corporate governance across countries has been a subject of interest and controversy in a variety of disciplines. We attempt to address a number of related research questions: (1) what constitutes convergence? (2) what are the drivers that propel corporations in different nations towards convergence? (3) what are the major impediments that stand in the way of convergence? (4) what empirical evidence do we have to suggest that we are moving towards or away from convergence? and (5) what would be some productive avenues for further research on this topic?

Research Findings/Results: Despite the vigorous intellectual position of the proponents of convergence, there is only limited evidence to indicate that such convergence is actually occurring. Even when there is ostensible convergence, much of it is convergence in form rather than substance, and governance convergence is not a context-free phenomenon.

Theoretical Implications: Our review of the past literature suggests that increasing integration of product and capital markets is leading to changes in corporate governance around the world, but there is only limited evidence that such changes constitute convergence. Governance changes seem to be primarily attributable to the quest for greater efficiency in governance and enhanced legitimacy in capital markets. However, local forces such as institutional embeddedness and politics can hinder governance changes or create “hybrid” practices.

Practical Implications: The ideal corporate governance may be institution- and firm-specific and an imposition of new practices or standards may not lead to intended policy or performance outcomes.