Corporate governance in Iran: the case of state-owned enterprises

Document Type : Original Manuscript



This paper investigates the status of corporate governance (CG) in Iran’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). It adopts an interpretive case study approach and is based on an in-depth study of Iranian SOEs. We examine the current state of CG systems in SOEs, and through drawing upon institutional theory (namely the concepts of institutional logics and institutional entrepreneurship), study the reasons behind the perceived failure of CG in the examined context. Our findings provide a multi-level conceptualization of the failure of CG in SOEs, and identify four mutually constitutive factors – state, educators and experts, organizational field, and individualist culture – that collectively underpin this process. The key contributions of our study include offering a refreshed view of CG in Iranian SOEs, hence contributing to the corporate governance literature in developing economies. Additionally, through extending the concept of importation, along with institutional logics and institutional entrepreneurship to CG studies in developing economies, we provide an alternative theoretical framework using which studies of similar nature could be conducted. Finally, policymakers and practitioners can benefit from the proposed recommendations and improve the CG implementation process in SOEs.