Development of codes of governance and international comparisons


Every organization has its own decision-making processes and structures according to its structure and objectives which may range from formal and sophisticated ones subject to laws and regulations, to informal ones rooted in its organizational culture and values. The world has now realised the importance of harmonized codes of governance and considerable effort has been put into developing such codes. In this chapter we consider the various approaches.

Systems of governance

It is probably true to say that there is a considerable degree of convergence on a global scale as far as systems of governance are concerned, and this convergence is based on the dominance of the Anglo Saxon model6 of the state, the market and of civil society. As a consequence there tends to be an unquestioning assumption (see for example Mallin 2004) that discussions concerning governance can assume the Anglo Saxon model as the norm and then consider, if necessary, variations from that norm (see Guillen 2001). It is important however to recognize that there are other models so in this chapter we state that there were historically 3 significant approaches to governance. Each has left its legacy in governance systems around the world. The Anglo Saxon model is important but just one of the 3 models we wish to examine. The other two we have described as the Latin model and the Ottoman model. We start by outlining the salient features of each.

The Anglo Saxon model of governance

The Anglo Saxon model of governance is of course familiar to all readers of this book. It is founded on rules which must be codified and can therefore be subject to a standard interpretation by the appropriate adjudicating body. It has a tendency to be hierarchical and therefore imposed from above; and along with this imposition is an assumption of its efficacy and a lack therefore of considerations of alternatives. In this model therefore the issues of governance, politics and power become inseparably intertwined

The abuses which have been revealed within this system of governance7 have exposed problems with the lack of separation of politics from governance. This has led to the suggestion that there should be a clear distinction between the two. The argument is that politics is concerned with the processes by which a group of people, with possibly divergent and contradictory opinions can reach a collective decision which is generally regarded as binding on the group, and therefore enforced as common policy. Governance, on the other hand, is concerned with the processes and administrative elements of governing rather than its antagonistic ones (Solomon 2007). This argument of course makes the assumption that it is actually possible to make the separation between politics and administration.

For example both the UK and the USA have governance procedures to make this separation effective for their national governments - and different procedures in each country - but in both countries the division is continually blurred in practice. Many would argue that the division is not possible in practice because the third factor of power is ignored whereas this is more important. Indeed it is our argument that it is the operation of this power in practice that brings about many of the governance problems that exist in practice. We discuss this in greater detail later in the chapter but part of our argument is that theories and systems of governance assume that power relationships, while not necessarily equal, are not too asymmetric. If the relationship is too asymmetric then the safeguards in a governance system do not operate satisfactorily whereas one of the features of globalisation is an increase in such power asymmetries.

The Anglo Saxon model is hierarchical but other forms of governance are allowed and even encouraged to operate within this framework. Thus the market form features prominently in the Anglo Saxon model while the network and consensual forms can also be found. It is therefore apparent that it is not the form of governance which epitomizes the Anglo Saxon model; rather it is the dependence on rules and adjudication which distinguishes this system of governance.

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