• Governance disclosure quality and market valuation of firms in UK and Germany

      Ullah, S.; Ahmad, S.; Akbar, Saeed; Kodwani, D.; Frecknall-Hughes, J. (Wiley, 2020)
      This study develops a 'comply or explain' index which captures compliance and quality of explanations given for non-compliance with the corporate governance codes in UK and Germany. In particular, we explain, how compliance and quality of explanations provided in non-compliance disclosures, and various other internal corporate governance mechanisms, affect the market valuation of firms in the two countries. A dynamic generalised method of moments (GMM) estimator is employed as the research technique for our analysis, which enabled us to control for the potential effects of endogeneity in our models. The findings of our content analysis suggest that firms exhibit significant differences in compliance, board independence and ownership structure in both countries. The 'comply or explain' index is positively associated with the market valuation of UK firms suggesting that compliance and quality governance disclosure is value relevant in the UK. Institutional blockholders' ownership is however, negatively associated with the market value of firms, which raises questions about the monitoring role of institutional shareholders in both countries. We argue that both compliance and explanations given for non-compliance are equally important, as long as valid reasons and justifications for non-compliance are provided by the reporting companies. These findings thus imply that the 'comply or explain' principle is working well and that UK and German companies could benefit from the flexibility offered by this principle. With respect to the role of board size, board independence, ownership structure, and institutional ownership of firms, this study offers policy implications.
    • International Evidence on the Determinants of Organizational Ethical Vulnerability

      Ullah, S.; Ahmad, S.; Akbar, Saeed; Kodwani, D. (2018)
      This paper proposes a model to explain what makes organisations ethically vulnerable. Drawing upon legitimacy, institutional, agency and individual moral reasoning theories we consider three sets of explanatory factors and examine their association with organisational ethical vulnerability. The three sets comprise external institutional context, internal corporate governance mechanisms and organisational ethical infrastructure. We combine these three sets of factors and develop an analytical framework for classifying ethical issues and propose a new model of organisational ethical vulnerability. We test our model on a sample of 253 firms that were involved in ethical misconduct and compare them with a matched sample of the same number of firms from 28 different countries. The results suggest that weak regulatory environment and internal corporate governance combined with profitability warnings or losses in the preceding year increase organisational ethical vulnerability. We find counterintuitive evidence suggesting that firms’ involvement in bribery and corruption prevention training programmes is positively associated with the likelihood of ethical vulnerability. By synthesising insights about individual and corporate behaviour from multiple theories, this study extends existing analytical literature on business ethics. Our findings have implications for firms’ external regulatory settings, corporate governance mechanisms and organisational ethical infrastructure.