Corporate governance refers to the structures, processes, practices, policies and rules that control and direct an organization and all corporate behaviour. For companies, establishing corporate governance means a balancing act of stakeholders and their respective interests in an effort to align company activities with them. 

What do we mean by stakeholders? There are two types: internal and external. Internal stakeholders refers to those with interests within the company, including executives, management, the board of directors and employees. External stakeholders refers to anyone affected by the corporation, including customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors, financiers, government, regulators and the public at large.

Ideally, corporate governance creates a set of rules and controls that everyone in the company abides by in order to not just reach company objectives, but even in setting them. Corporate governance implicitly refers to managing and monitoring the activities within a company in order to mitigate risk and manage behaviour in order to ensure corporate responsibility. It includes internal controls, performance management, reporting, disclosure, corporate values and data governance but that’s not all. A comprehensive approach to corporate governance puts all these processes within the larger social, regulatory and market environment.

The UK’s Cadbury Report, the OECD’s Principles of Corporate Governance and the US’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act list a set of principles and guidelines that set a standard for corporate governance and internal controls in an effort to hold companies more accountable for ethics, record keeping and reporting integrity. 
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