Governance has been around ever since humans began to organize themselves, but the word "governance" has only made its way into common usage since about 1990. Essentially, it refers to the process of governing an organization (or a society) – that is, the process whereby decisions are taken on issues important to the organization, and oversight is exercised over its management and finances.
Governance determines how key relationships are maintained, how the health of the organization is safeguarded, and how account is rendered for performance.
The concept itself is simple, but there are many different ways in which governance may be carried out. Moreover, since governance determines who has power, and power is important to many persons, building or reforming governance architecture can be a complex and in some cases a highly contentious undertaking.
Table of contents:
What is governance?...Principals, agents and fiduciary responsibilities... Governance systems or architecture... The culture of governance... Recent developments in governance: private sector... Governance in public organizations... Designing (or reforming) a governance system... The duties and tasks of governance... How to tell if your governance is sound?... Board composition... Conclusion