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Analysing corporate governance and accountability practices from an African neo-patrimonialism perspective: Insights from Kenya

Kimani, Danson and Ullah, Subhan and Kodwani, Devendra and Akhtar, Pervaiz (2020) 'Analysing corporate governance and accountability practices from an African neo-patrimonialism perspective: Insights from Kenya.' Critical Perspectives on Accounting. ISSN 1045-2354

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Abstract

This paper examines corporate governance (CG) and corporate accountability practices in the African context, by focusing on the case of Kenya. Our data comprises a combination of 29 semi-structured interviews, field observations and archival evidence. We reveal how western-originated CG and accountability reforms are constrained or subverted by a vigorous neo-patrimonial regime. The Kenyan corporate sector has well defined legal-rational structures, including an elaborate corporate sector regulatory framework, professionals (i.e. accountants and auditors) and corporate boards. In contrast, however, informal and patronage networks interfere with the nomination and work of non-executive board members, thereby hindering the possibility of an independent monitoring of executive management. A conflictual and inadequately resourced regulatory framework plays a more symbolic than an effective regulative role in enforcing CG and accountability practices. We also find a widespread rent-seeking culture that significantly hinders the exercise of corporate accountability. Furthermore, external auditor independence is problematic due to conflicts of interests and the auditors’ dependence on advisory fees, thereby favouring a clientelist association with auditee firms. Overall, our findings reveal that CG and accountability practices, while ostensibly present in Kenya, are largely ineffective due to the influenceof neo-patrimonial realities on the mind-set and actions of corporate actors.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: accounting; corporate governance; financial transparency; neo-patrimonialism; Africa, less developed countries
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2020 16:38
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2020 11:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28985

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