Skip to main content

Fundamentals of Governance: Concept, Context, Characteristics

Paper II, Sec: A 1.1

Cambridge dictionary defines governance as:
the way that organizations or countries are managed at the highest level, and the systems for doing this
Oxford Learners Dictionaries has defined governance as:
the activity of governing a country or controlling a company or an organization; the way in which a country is governed or a company or institution is controlled
Governance (Greek kubernaein [kubernáo], meaning to steer) can be defined as the exercise of the authoritative power over a system or the people through previously prepared laws and conditions. Governance exist in and between formal governing bodies (national and international) which can cause interaction, influence, collaboration and redesign of the established norms and procedures. Although governance and government are interchangeably used, governance is a much broader term while government is only the institution of the governance. Government overviews the process ongoing within the state whereas governance includes the coordination of all the involved institutions with peoples's social lives.

Governance, in simple terms include:
  • process of decision making,
  • process of implementing the decisions,
  • use of authority while decisions are implemented,
  • being responsible for all the decisions,
In the decision making process, several players or actors and structures are involved. Here, the government is seen as an actor. The actors varies according to types of governance involved, countries, specific sites: rural or urban, etc.

  • creates long term visions, goals, policies, 
  • examines the performance of players working for public, and checks if the mission has been worked upon,
  • works for achieving targeted results, for which ensures if it has been done ethically,

Key actors in Governance:

A. State (principal actor of government)
  •        acts as resource provider and enabler (regulates law-making process)
B. Corporate Governance (private and business sector)
  •         acts in the economic development 
C. Civil Society (groups outside government)
  •          roles in facilitation and interaction among the key players
Ysa, Tamyko & Albareda, Adrià & Forberger, Sarah. (2014). Illustration in Collaborative Governance

If the governance can achieve the fruitful and desirable results in the right procedures, the n the governance can be called as good governance.

Eight Characteristics of Good Governance (UNDB) (governancepro):

  1. Participation
  2. Transparency
  3. Rule of Law
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Consensus Oriented
  6. Equity and Inclusiveness
  7. Effectiveness and Efficiency
  8. Accountability

Elements of Good Governance according to ADB:

  • Accountability
  • Participation
  • Predictability
  • Transparency

Challenges in Governance

  • Issues in Policy
  • Bureaucratic Problems (Corruption)
  • Public Fiscal Management
  • Deficiencies in Political and Electoral System

All the materials upon which above excerpt has been based has been listed. For further strong composition and comprehension refer to the following resources:
  2. Institute on Governance (IOG)
  4. Governance (Wikipedia)
  5. Ysa, Tamyko & Albareda, Adrià & Forberger, Sarah. (2014). What is governance.. 
  6. International Bureau of EducationUnderstanding Urban GovernanceWorld Economic Forum
  9. Important Aspects of Governance @youtube (link)
  10. Governance and Good Governance @youtube (link)


Recent Posts Widget