Corporate governance training focuses on teaching about the policies, procedures, laws and best practices of leading a corporation. Such training typically is attended by the directors and top managers of corporations. Training can be focused on broad corporate governance practices or on specific areas, such as international trends or shareholders' rights. Several top universities and consulting firms offer these types of courses and seminars.
Classes can be aimed at the broad subject of corporate governance or focused on a certain area. In a standard training course, class members learn about the qualities of an effective corporate governance system and how to implement such practices within their organizations. Common areas of specialization include social responsibility, international trends, financial transparency, and shareholders' rights. Classes also can focus on a specific industry, such as the oil and gas industry or non-profits.
The types of corporate governance training available vary in length, subject, and class characteristics. Universities often offer semester-long courses in corporate governance. Another popular form of corporate governance training is the seminar, which can last from a half-day to several days.
Managers and directors unfamiliar with corporate governance would likely see the most benefit from a college-level course that teaches the basics. Seminars are more helpful to those who have a basic understanding of corporate governance, because they update participants on emerging trends. As a best practice, managers and directors should submit to training once a year.
The backgrounds of participants vary depending on where the course is taught. University courses and seminars sponsored by industry groups often gather together people from many companies. Conversely, a company can invite an industry or consulting group to its office to train the entire management and director team at one time.
Corporate governance training is important for many companies because it reflects well on their sensitivity to stakeholders. Corporations with active training programs may be more socially responsible and receptive to feedback and change. A benefit is that a company's corporate governance quotient — a measure of the quality of a company’s corporate governance system — increases with training. As many stakeholders place more emphasis on social responsibility, the corporate governance quotient becomes more important.
International corporate governance standards are similar, thus members of corporations across the globe participate in similar training sessions. The similarities are fueled by the convergence of international business standards. Certain international business groups, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have developed an international corporate governance framework and promote best practices. These groups share their expertise through corporate governance training and publications.
Managers and directors can stay current on corporate governance trends by reading publications and participating in organizations dedicated to furthering corporate governance. These activities demonstrate the individual's commitment to good corporate governance and keep the participant informed on current best practices. It also reflects well on the participant's corporation.