The role of institutional shareholder activism in corporate governance: a comparative study of the UK and US and China

Ding, Yaqi (2018) The role of institutional shareholder activism in corporate governance: a comparative study of the UK and US and China. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Although institutional shareholders are still in their infancy in China, Chinese institutional shareholder activism in corporate governance is drawing public attention in state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform. Since the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) are at the forefront in this regard, a comparative study was conducted to explore whether Chinese institutional investors activism could influence corporate governance as their UK and US counterparts and whether the possibility of more institutional shareholder activism in China exists as the country rides on the current wave of economic reform.
A contractual perspective of the firm and principal–agent relationship between members provide a useful tool to get a better understanding of the internal structure of organizations. Therefore, the thesis begins with the agency theory and the analysis of agency problems existed in each jurisdiction serve as a foundation for further research. Apart from the legal research, historical and political perspective of research were adopted. On the one hand, the factors that promote the development of institutional shareholders are analysed with the evolution of the ownership structure. This retrospective assists with an understanding of the wider context in which institutional shareholder activism emerged. On the other hand, the socialist ideology and political legitimacy management by the Chinese Communist Party deeply influence every aspect of Chinese economy. The political influence is discussed and Chinese institutional shareholder activism analysed under the influence of political factors.
Given the fact that institutional shareholder activism operates within a complex framework, a breakdown of shareholder activism by typologies of institutional investors and forms of activism is presented. The extent of institutional shareholder activism in the UK, US and China was explored from an empirical perspective. Academic research, reports from institutional investors and industry associations, related news, and cases were collected to assist with the study. Although it appears that there is institutional shareholder activism with similar features in the UK, US and China, the role that institutional shareholder activism plays in corporate governance is different. Nine factors that contribute to the difference in institutional shareholder activism are presented. Based on these findings, the research suggests that although institutional
shareholder activism is rational and beneficial to corporate performance under certain circumstances, and more institutional shareholder activism can be expected as it fits within a broad tapestry of economic reform, it is not easy for Chinese institutional shareholders to overcome their passivity and engage in corporate governance actively. The possible way forward was analysed at the end of the thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Agency theory, corporate governance, institutional shareholder activism, State Owned Enterprise reform.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: MacNeil, Professor Iain and Moncrieff, Dr Lilian
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Dr Yaqi Ding
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9002
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2018 11:39
Last Modified: 17 May 2018 09:49
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/9002

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