Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a paradigmatic look at corporate governance. Design/methodology/approach – This paper starts with the premise that any worldview can be associated with one of the four basic paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. The paper looks at the current state of mainstream academic finance and notes that it is founded only on the functionalist paradigm. It argues that any view expressed with respect to corporate governance is based on one of the four paradigms or worldviews. It, therefore, discusses four views expressed with respect to the nature and role of corporate governance. Findings – The paper emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the nature and role of corporate governance from a certain paradigmatic viewpoint. Emphasizing this example in the area of corporate governance, the paper concludes that there are opportunities for mainstream academic finance, in general, and corporate governance, in particular, to benefit from contributions coming from the other three paradigms if they respect paradigm diversity. Originality/value – The paper recommends a serious conscious thinking about the social philosophy upon which finance, in general, and corporate governance, in particular, is based and of the alternative avenues for development.
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