Handbook of Research on Corporate Governance and Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Corporate Governance and Entrepreneurship

Edited by Jonas Gabrielsson

This Handbook provides a unique collection of research addressing issues of corporate governance in entrepreneurial contexts, including start-ups, owner-managed firms, fast-growing firms, and IPOs, as well as how corporate governance and board leadership is associated with entrepreneurship and innovation in both small and large established companies. The chapters span a wide range of topics, methodologies, and levels of analysis, all designed to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of when and how corporate governance matters in different entrepreneurial contexts.
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Chapter 8: Corporate governance practices in smaller privately held businesses: insights from the Rhine Valley region

Susanne Durst and Julia Brunold


The study of corporate governance is dominated by quantitative research and tends to focus on large listed companies. As a response to this situation, this chapter examines how corporate governance is practiced in smaller businesses. It reports findings based on semi-structured interviews conducted with executive staff of smaller privately held firms from the Rhine Valley region. More precisely, parts of both Austria (Province of Vorarlberg) and the Principality of Liechtenstein were covered. In total, 25 individuals were involved. The findings particularly emphasize the concept of relational governance as a more appropriate governance approach in small firms. Thereby the chapter suggests that the relational governance approach needs to be extended by also considering employees and their contribution to governance practices and company development. The chapter’s findings may help managing directors of smaller firms to better understand and exploit the benefits of different governance mechanisms in their efforts to cope with different business challenges ahead. The findings may also be used by policy-makers to help them develop improved corporate governance codes and best practice recommendations. To sum up, the chapter provides fresh insights into the practice of governance in smaller firms from a practitioner’s perspective. Additionally, it offers the opportunity of expanding understanding of the topic in different parts of the world.

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