Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance

The Corporate Governance research group consists of researchers from several subject areas with an interest in corporate governance issues.

Our research

The research of the team members covers a wide area. Actors of the governance system are studied, such as auditors, owners, financial analysts, banks and managers. Institutions are studied, such as governance systems, norms and networks. The main empirical focus has been on listed corporations, but cooperatives, voluntary associations, municipal corporations and family firms have received a growing interest by the team. Research is mainly done within the scope of several externally funded projects and has both a national as well as an international focus.

Closely tied to the CG team is a master program in corporate governance.

Research Projects Corporate Governance

Have the introduction of IFRS affected accounting quality? (2011-)
Main researchers: Andreas Jansson, Christopher von Koch, Micael Jönsson
Financial support: NASDAQ OMX Nordic Foundation

This project examines whether financial analysts' forecast accuracy has been influenced by the introduction of the IFRS accounting standard. In contrast to traditional accounting in continental Europe, the IFRS standard relies much more on market valuation of assets. The project is comparative in that it compares analysts' performances in Sweden, the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands, and we expect cross-national differences in the impact of IFRS on the analysts' accuracy.

The evolution of the conception of owners´ position in firms underlying Swedish accounting from 1900 to the present day (2011-)
Main researcher: Andreas Jansson
Financial support: Handelsbanken research foundation

The project focuses on the development of the underlying conception of what a corporation is and should do as well as the owners' position in the corporation's duties, as this is reflected in the development of accounting. The aim of the project is to develop our understanding of the role of these types of implicit assumptions in shaping disclosure practices and how this role relates to the development of other aspects of the corporate governance system. 

Governance of family firms (2011-)
Main researchers: Sven-Olof Collin, Jenny Ahlberg

The research project will use the theory development in corporate governance and apply it on the family firm and the family as principal of the firm. The research question will be 'How does the family govern the family firm?' The aim is to explain the governance of the family firm by the family and its consequences for the firm.

We will use a structured conception of corporate governance, summarised in the concept of governance strategy (presented in Collin, 2007), implying that the principal and how the principal is organised, i.e. the family and its structure, influence the firm through the corporate governance mechanisms (capital structure, management selection, executive compensation, the board, auditors, product market and environmental factors, e.g. mass media) and thereby influence the performance of the firm, both short-term as capital return and competitiveness and long-term as entrepreneurial capacity and ultimately survival. The theoretical contribution will be the conception of family governance strategy and the practical contribution will be the understanding of the relationship between family governance and firm performance.

Corporate governance in transitional economies: The Influence of Political and Social Networks on Firm Performance (2011-)
Main researcher: Yuliya Ponomareva

Valuation of uncertain investments, via Real Option Reasoning (ROR) as an investment process (2011-)
Main researchers: Katarina Eriksson

Doing right because it is righteous: Duty governing human action (2011-)
Main researchers: Sven-Olof Collin

The actors and activities of Swedish board directors and top managers (2009-)
Main researchers: Anna Stafsudd, Karin Jonnergård
Financial support: Handelsbanken Research Foundations

In this project the development of board of directors and top managers of Swedish listed firms is followed over a time period from 1994 - 2009. The project is a continuation of the projects "Longitudinal Patterns in the Selection of Swedish Senior Executives: Selecting for the Future or in Accordance with the Past?" and "Evolutions of corporate governance systems – a study of changes in the institutional framework in Sweden 1994-1999".

The project includes an analysis of the development of board demography, board activities and board's criterias for decision making over time as well as the development of director´s attitudes regarding the responsibilities and function of the board and the function of the capital market. It also analyzes the demography of Swedish top managers and the network connections between top managers and directors. The project will be reported in a book during the spring 2012.

Corporate governance and financial analyst's forecast (2009-)
Main researchers: Christopher von Koch, Karin Jonnergård, Jonas Söderberg
Financial support: Handelsbanken Research Foundations

Utveckling av svenska börsstyrelser och företagselit 1994-2009 (2009-2011) Main researchers: Karin Jonnergård, Anna Stafsudd
Financial support: Handelsbanken Research Foundation

Payment Efficiency and Payment Pricing (2008-)
Main researcher: Magnus Willesson

Gatekeepers - improving classification and how to describe corporate governance (2009-2012)
Main researchers: Christopher von Koch, Karin Jonnergård, Ola Nilsson
Financial support: The Swedish Research Council 

The statutory auditor role in infusing trust in the capital market (2009-)
Main researcher: Ola Nilsson
Financial support: Dissertation

The purpose of this doctoral project is to study if and how statutory auditing affect the trust Swedish shareholder has in the Swedish stock market. This is going to be based on a two step empirical study with both a survey as well as interviews.

Operational Risk in Swedish banks (2007-)
Main researchers: Magnus Willesson

Small World Sweden: The Importance of Corporate Networks (2006)
Main researchers: Anna Stafsudd
Financial support: Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation

Small Worlds of Corporate Ownership in Comparative Perspective (2004-)
Main researchers: Bruce Kogut, Inséad, France; Nordic project leader: Steen Thomsen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; Swedish project leader: Anna Stafsudd, Lund University, Sweden. Nordic project members: Christofer Edling, Stockholm University, Sweden; Trond Randøy, Agder University College, Norway; and Steen Thomsen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.

Development of Corporate governance systems - normativa and cognitive aspects of stability and change (2008-)
Main researchers: Karin Jonnergård, Andreas Jansson and Ulf Larsson
Financial support: Funded by the Swedish Research Council and Handelsbanken Research Foundations

The project is a continuation on "Development of corporate governance systems" and follow up the result of this project by (1) study reputation as a governance mechanism and (2) the translation of regulation and concept from the Angloamerican context into the Swedish. The importance of reputation is studied partly through two case-studies of how Swedish corporate scandals, Scandia and ABB, are described by media. The cases focuse on the aspects of legitimacy/delegitimacy, stigmatisation and the descriptions of the controlling owners. In addition a study is carried out about how changes in the reputation of a controlling owners may be detected through studies of changes in the stock prices in other parts of the controlling owner's stock portfolio.

Translations of concepts are studied for the concept "independent board members" and "transparency in financial accoutning". Regarding independent board member the label is consistent with the international one, but the content of the concept is adjusted to important feature of the Swedish context. Transparency, on the other hand, has taken over the role of the concept "openness" in Swedish financial accounting. It is interesting to note that the concept of transparency has emerged from both a financial/economic tradition and a political science tradition. The content of the concept is thereby ambigouos and may be adjusted to the regulative situation at hand.

Revisorns roll i corporate governance systemet (2007-2009)
Main researchers: Karin Jonnergård and Ola Nilsson
Financial support: FAR:s jubileumsfond

Longitudinal Patterns in the Selection of Swedish Senior Executives: Selecting for the Future or in Accordance with the Past? (2004)
Main researchers: Anna Stafsudd
Financial support: Funded by the Swedish Research Council

Development of corporate governance systems (2003-2007)
Main researchers: Karin Jonnergård, Matts Kärreman, Andreas Jansson, Ulf Larsson
Financial support: Handelsbanken Research Foundations

The aim of the project is to study owner activities amongst minority owners and contextual changes in the Swedish corporate governance system in order to better understand the development of such system.

The project includes two studies (1) owners' activities amongst minority owners. This is studied through three case-studies and the development of a ideal-typology for activities amongst minority owners. Coalition building amongs minoriyt owners may be viewed as a process where an owner expereince a prospect (offensive) or a threathe (defensive) to the shareholder value of the company. Based on a relatively large investment in the company or specific knowledge of the company this owner has incentive to attemp to build a coalition in order to act towards the company. The function of the coalition is dependent upon the relations between its members (work division, earlier relations between the members and the possibility to lower the threat of opportuism). The success of the coalition is dependent on the relation to the company and its major owners. Reputation and the sowing of such seem to have a large influence on both the formation of the coalition and the company and its major owners' reaction on the claim from the coalition.

(2) The importance of regulatory change for the corporate governance system. In this part of the project the regulatory change regarding stock repurchase; the diffusion of nomination committees in Sweden and the referal process of the Swedish code of conduct. It apperas as while stock repurchase in USA has been an instrument for top management to proctect their position, in Sweden stock repurchase rather has been a way to favour owners in general and especally major owners. This may be explained by difference in the corporate governance systems especially regarding owners structure. Regarding nomination committees these has been diffused in the Swedish contexts during a long time period and a number of different constructions have been labelled nomination committee up to the date election committees became obligatory through the Swedish code of conduct. The rules on election (nomination) committee in the code were adjusted to the practice amongst large Swedish companies rather than to international norms. In the same way it appears more essential to emphasis national identity than common economic interest in the code's referal process. The Swedish business elite and the Swedish institutional investors both support a development emphasizing the traditional Swedish feature. Interesting it is the state rather than the business society that urge for changing regulation in line with the Anglo-American model.

Entering into a Profession – Entrance Strategies and Gender Structure Effects (2002-)
Main researchers: Karin Jonnergård, Anna Stafsudd, Ulf Elg, Lund University
Financial support: Funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation

The project investigates professionals that recently had gained their legitimacy as professionals through authorization or exams. We invested auditors and academics. The aim is to investigate the strategies that young professionals apply in order to get included into the professional organization and to determine if there exists differences between the sexes already this early on the career ladder. As our population recently gains their accreditation as professional one may expect the investment in human recourses to be equal amongst the participants and differences between sexes may be referred to other factors than differences in these investments.

The results point at large differences both in which positions women and men hold and in the salaries between men and women. This may partly be explained by that women and men hold different expectations on their careers and, for auditors, that male auditors had an perception of what behavior that was rewarded closely related to the customary reward systems in the business. Female auditors more often had the perception that the main factor was to do "a good auditing". The results regarding if there were any differences between the strategies applied by female or male in getting included in the professional organizations were less clear-cut.

Evolutions of corporate governance systems – a study of changes in the institutional framework in Sweden 1994-1999 (2000-2004)
Project leader and main researchers: Karin Jonnergård and Matts Kärreman
Financial support: Handelsbanken Research Foundations

The project is a following-up on the project "Pattern of board behaviour in Swedish listed companies" and a survey comparable to the one sent out in 1994 was sent to the directors of listed Swedish companies in 1999.

The results pointed at several changes in Swedish board work during the five years between the surveys. The emphasis on decision-criteria applied by the boards had in 1999 been displaced towards a heavier emphasis on financial decision criteria. The most obvious differences were in the agenda-setting and where in the decision-process the boards of directors got involved. Issues as monitoring the CEO and rewards systems for CEO and the top management were more frequent in the agendas at 1999 than in 1994. The boards got involved more and earlier in the decision-making process in 1999 than in 1994. These changes could not be explained by changes in owner structure or in board composition. A speculation is that they may be referred to the regulative changes that occurred during the time period and to a changing public discourse in what constitutes "good board performance".

Pattern of board behavior in Swedish listed companies (1994-1998)
Main researchers: Claes Svensson, Karin Jonnergård and Matts Kärreman
Financial support: Johnson forskningsstiftelse

Bolag eller kooperation (1991-1992)
Main researchers: Karin Jonnergård
Financial support: FRN