Role of No-Voting shareholder activism in corporate governance in a developing Arab country

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Because of agency conflict in firms with dispersed ownership, governance mechanisms to mitigate this agency cost, such as shareholders’ active monitoring of the firm’s management, have been developed. However, shareholder activism is contextual; therefore, the characteristics of shareholder activism in corporate governance practices in Libyan listed companies we explored. The data were collected from the 42 non-financial and 22 financial companies listed in the Libyan stock market during 2007–2016. Data envelopment analysis was done to generate an efficiency score based on corporate governance and shareholder activism. Linear regression analysis was used to determine whether a relationship exists between the efficiency of corporate governance and shareholder activism. All the companies were characterized by joint private-government ownership. The companies had an average corporate governance index of 2.24. Implementation of the Libyan good corporate governance practices is anticipated to give a score ≥ 2.95.
Vote “No” shareholder activism targeting the boards of directors and their committees was the predominant form of shareholder activism (average number of annual events = 3.08) compared to shareholder proposal (average annual events = 1.67) and shareholder negotiation with management (average annual events = 1.6).
Shareholder activism was more frequent in companies with low than with average governance scores compared to those with above-average governance scores. Moreover, the scores of shareholder activism were inversely related to corporate governance scores (r = –0.766, p < 0.01). Ordinary least-squares regression analysis revealed that a decrease in corporate governance score of one unit was associated with a 57% increase in shareholder activism (B = –0.57, F = 30.64, p < 0.01).
Our study findings indicate that poor corporate governance practices do influence the frequency of shareholder activism in Libyan listed companies. Vote “No” activism is the most frequently used form of shareholder activism. The less frequent use of shareholder proposals and negotiation with management is probably related to legal and sociocultural factors.

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    • Table 1. Types of the listed companies classified by industries
    • Table 2. Descriptive statistics for the control variables
    • Table 3. The average annual shareholder activism scores among listed financial and non-financial companies
    • Table 4. Distribution of shareholder activism scores for the listed companies according to their corporate governance score levels
    • Table 5. Pearson correlation of shareholder activism scores with scores of corporate governance and control variables
    • Table 6. Ordinary least squares regression analysis of shareholder activism score versus corporate governance efficiency