Corporate governance disclosure in the Gulf countries

  • Nermeen Shehata

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Corporate governance disclosure is important for countries aiming to attract international investors and reduce companies’ cost of capital. The relationship between corporate governance disclosure (CGD) and its determinants is the main objective of the current research. Accordingly, the research aimed to: (i) assess CGD level in the Gulf countries; (ii) investigate the impact of ownership structure (proportion of institutional, governmental, managerial and family ownership) on CGD; (iii) explore the effect of board characteristics (proportion of independent board members, proportion of family members on board, CEO/chairman duality and board size) on CGD; (iv) examine the relationship between diversity (proportion of foreign and female members on a board and in the senior management team) and CGD; and (v) test the association between firm characteristics (company size, age, liquidity, profitability, leverage, industry and auditor types) and CGD. Gulf countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) were selected for the study since they share similar characteristics and represent a relatively homogeneous category in the Middle East and North African region. A CGD index of 232 items was developed and divided into six categories: ownership structure and investor rights; financial transparency and information disclosure; information on auditors; board and senior management structure and process; board committees; and finally corporate behaviour and responsibility. Annual reports available for listed non-financial companies of the Gulf countries were 270 for the year 2009. The maximum CGD level was 63%, whereas the minimum was 5%, with an average disclosure level of 32%. Several regression models were conducted to enhance the robustness of the results and conclusions of the study. The results indicated that five variables had a significant positive relationship with CGD: proportion of independent members on a board, proportion of foreign members on a board, proportion of foreign members in the senior management team, auditor type and profitability. The research contributes to the literature on corporate governance voluntary disclosure in developing countries.
Practical contributions consist of several recommendations to policy makers, regulators, and professional institutions in the Gulf countries.
Date of Award19 Jun 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aston University
SupervisorRobert Goddard (Supervisor) & Alan D Lowe (Supervisor)


  • agency theory
  • middle east
  • political connection
  • diversity
  • board of directors

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