Corporate Governance Research Report

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Objective: This assignment asks you to prepare a corporate governance report for a real UK or US publicly listed firm that describes and discusses the firm’s ownership structure, board of directors and executive compensation in 2015 (Please note that if the firm’s 2015 corporate governance report is not available, you should use the 2014 report).

Question: Prepare a corporate governance research report about a UK or US publicly listed firm focusing on the following three aspects:

  • Ownership structure. Describe the firm’s ownership structure. Discuss potential problems that might arise because of the separation of ownership and control. Discuss the role and relevance within the firm of different types of owners (e.g., family owners, institutional investors). You may find information about the firm’s ownership structure on Yahoo! Finance or the Fame database, for instance.

(20 marks)

  • Board of directors. Present the firm’s board of directors focusing on the board’s structure, the composition of the board (executive, non-executive and independent non-executive directors) and its key sub-committees. Provide a detailed analysis of the board’s structure (size, interlocks, etc.) and diversity (age, gender, expertise, knowledge, ethnicity, etc.) detailing the strengths and weaknesses you have identified. Suggest solutions to improve the board’s effectiveness and diversity. You may find information about the corporate governance of the firm from the company web page and the firm’s last report on corporate governance.

(40 marks)

  • Executive compensation. Discuss the firm’s executive compensation, focusing on aspects such as the level of pay, the strength of incentives, etc. Highlight potential advantages and drawbacks. You may find information on executive compensation from the company web page and the firm’s last report on corporate governance.

(40 marks)

(Total: 100 marks)

Important details


  • To find the data you need, you could use for instance the company’s last report on corporate governance, the company’s last annual report and the FAME database. For access to the FAME database click to the following link:


  • You should prepare your report in Microsoft Word or in another word processing software.
  • You should submit your coursework electronically using the coursework submission system.
  • Any questions related to the coursework, should be sent directly to Dr. Andrea Patacconi (

Word limit: 2000 words

PG Coursework Assessment Criteria


In preparing your coursework, you should be aware that you will be assessed by reference to the extent to which your answers meet the following criteria:


Identification and application of knowledge to the question asked
Capacity to find data from online resources
Ability to apply theories related to the question asked
Demonstration of ability to structure and present work in a clear and coherent way
Evidence of reading and research
Clear and accurate expression



  • Please preserve anonymity by using your university ID number, not your name.


  • This coursework counts for 50% of the assessment in this module.


The coursework will be marked using the following marking grid based on the Senate Scale Criteria:



Senate Scale Criteria Proportion of Marks %
Learning outcomes & scholarship 40%
Argument & understanding

+ Criticality & analysis

Use of sources and evidence; referencing; written communication and presentation 20%
Total 100%



Your coursework should clearly distinguish between your original words and ideas, and those of others. When referring to the work of others, from books, journals or any other source (including the internet), it is essential that you make this clear by acknowledging your source and referencing correctly.   Failure to reference correctly will lose you marks and may constitute plagiarism or collusion.   Unless specified otherwise by the module organiser, Norwich Business School uses the Harvard system of referencing.

You should also make sure that you are familiar with the Business School’s policy on Harvard referencing which is available in your student handbooks.

Individual study skills support and advice on referencing is also provided by the Learning Enhancement Service at the Dean of Students Office.

Where work has been submitted in word-processed format, you may be requested to provide a digital copy of your coursework (after an initial examination of the hard copy by the coursework assessors) for use with plagiarism detection software. Instances where plagiarism is suspected will be investigated by the NBS Plagiarism Officer. Students who are found to have plagiarised will be penalised.

In proven cases offenders will be punished and the punishment may extend to degree failure, temporary suspension or expulsion from further study if the case comes before a Discipline Committee of the University.

General Advice

Before you submit any coursework you should make sure that you are clear and up to date in your knowledge of university policy and practice.

The University’s policy on Submission of Work for Assessment (Taught Programmes): Submission of Anonymised Work for Assessment, Word Limits and Penalties, Extensions and Penalties for Unauthorised Late Submission, Provisional Marks and Feedback, and Retention of Coursework is published in the Calendar, and is available at:

A penalty will be imposed for exceeding the word limit, which will be clearly stated in the assignment. Students must include their word count on the coursework coversheet when they submit their work. The word count for coursework, written assignments, projects, reports and dissertations shall include: Footnotes and endnotes (irrespective of whether they have been used for the purpose of referencing or not, references (in the main text), tables and illustrations and if applicable the abstract, title page and contents page. Any appendicised material and the bibliography or reference list shall be excluded from the word count.


Word Count Penalties

Up to 10% over word limit No Penalty
10% or more over the word limit Deduction of 10 marks off original mark
Failure to provide an electronic copy when requested Mark capped to the pass mark
Intentional misrepresentation of the word count on the coversheet Mark capped to the pass mark

The deadline for submission of coursework is 15:00 (3pm) on the submission/due day. This is for both electronic submission and paper copy submissions.



The majority of assignments will be submitted electronically via eVision. For identified modules, students will be able to submit coursework electronically from one week before the deadline, using a link from the eVision page. If your assignment is set up for electronic submission, you must submit electronically; there will not be an option to submit a hard copy instead of electronic submission. Even late assignments, or those that have extensions, should be submitted electronically rather than in paper format.

For more information on coursework submission, see:


Finally students are advised to be aware of the revised “Senate Scale Classifications 2012/13 – Coursework.” These scales which provide general guidance on the standards required for the award of marks for coursework. These are available at:


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