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회사지배구조와 국가문화의 관계The Correlation between Corporate Governance and National Culture

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The Correlation between Corporate Governance and National Culture
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한양법학, v.33, pp 469 - 489
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Before 1990 American system was thought to be the evolutionary pinnacle of the corporate governance structure. However, serious doubts were casted on the effectiveness of American corporate structure, as other systems, such as German and Japanese, turned out to perform effectively. In an effort to illuminate the cause of differences in nations’ corporate governance structures, the theory of path dependence was produced. It asserts that historical, ideological, and behavioral settings matter because they set the path upon which institutions are formed. Although the theory refers to culture as one of the underlying causes of differences in corporate governance structures, it fails to delineate on the content and the effects of culture. Thus some scholars of corporate governance resorted to the research of cross-cultural psychologists to operationalize the notion of culture. The CVD framework of cross-cultural psychology helps us to estimate the correlation between national cultures and corporate governance structures by describing national cultures with numerical letters. Among others Geert Hofstede identified five cultural value dimensions: Power Distance, Individualism/Collectivism, Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity/Femininity, and Long-term/Short-term Orientation. The researches of Amir N. Licht and others have analyzed the correlation between these cultural dimensions and corporate governance structures and found that American system is the outcome of American culture, which features high individualism index, low power distance index and low uncertainty avoidance index. These findings invoked the concern that American system might not work efficiently in different cultural context, such as that of Korea, which features low individualism index, high power distance index and high uncertainty avoidance index. For example, Korean independent directors might not be as independent as those in America, due to cultural constraints. Thus the need to change corporate culture in Korea has been advocated. However, we should also try to flesh out corporate governance structure that fits the cultural characteristics of Korea, as the culture is the country’s economically productive asset.
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