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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Governance \Gov"ern*ance\, n. [F. gouvernance.] Exercise of authority; control; government; arrangement.
--J. H. Newman.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "act or manner of governing," from Old French gouvernance "government, rule, administration; (rule of) conduct," from governer (see govern). Fowler writes that the word "has now the dignity of incipient archaism," but it might continue useful in its original sense as government comes primarily to mean "the governing power in a state."


n. The process, or the power, of governing; government or administration.

  1. n. the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something; "he claims that the present administration is corrupt"; "the governance of an association is responsible to its members"; "he quickly became recognized as a member of the establishment" [syn: administration, governing body, establishment, brass, organization, organisation]

  2. the act of governing; exercising authority; "regulations for the governing of state prisons"; "he had considerable experience of government" [syn: government, governing, government activity]


Governance refers to "all of processes of governing, whether undertaken by a government, market or network, whether over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through the laws, norms, power or language." It relates to "the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions."

A variety of entities (known generically as governing bodies) can govern. The most formal is a government, a body whose sole responsibility and authority is to make binding decisions in a given geopolitical system (such as a state) by establishing laws. Other types of governing include an organization (such as a corporation recognized as a legal entity by a government), a socio-political group (chiefdom, tribe, family, religious denomination, etc.), or another, informal group of people. In business and outsourcing relationships, governance frameworks are built into relational contracts that foster long-term collaboration and innovation. Poor governance can lead to contract failure.

Governance is the way the rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable. The degree of formality depends on the internal rules of a given organization and, externally, with its business partners. As such, governance may take many forms, driven by many different motivations and with many different results. For instance, a government may operate as a democracy where citizens vote on who should govern and the public good is the goal, while a non-profit organization may be governed by a small board of directors and pursue more specific aims.

In addition, a variety of external actors without decision-making power can influence the process of governing. These include lobbies, political parties, and the media.

Governance (journal)

Governance is published by the Structure and Organization of Government Committee (Research Committee 27) of the International Political Science Association. It covers the theoretical and practical discussion of executive politics, public policy, administration, and the organization of the state. According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2014 impact factor of 2.237, ranking it 10th out of 161 journals in the category "Political Science" and 4th out of 46 journals in the category "Public Administration".

The journal's co-editors are Robert H. Cox ( University of South Carolina) and Alasdair Roberts ( University of Missouri).

Usage examples of "governance".

In the first of these cases the Court was confronted with the contention that the act had been intended only for the industrial combinations, and hence was not designed to apply to the railroads, for whose governance the Interstate Commerce Act had been enacted three years prior.

Only Fimbria, in her heyday, had ever governed a tract of land so large, and the men who had had this awesome responsibility thrust so precipitately upon their shoulders were clerics, priests with no experience in governance.

If that a prince use hazardry, In alle governance and policy He is, as by common opinion, Y-hold the less in reputation.

Zembac Pix assisted him in the wording of it, which was to the effect that the Free Company of Cannoneers had now commenced the arduous duty of defending Land Nor against alien and hostile forces intent upon establishing a governance over the Land aforesaid.

Yet the Norman theory was a good foundation myth for the defenders of autocracy - supposing, as it did, that without a monarchy the Russians were incapable of governance.

This was because of the dual authorities of Barding and ruling authorities, both of which shared governance of their various peoples, and which by their complex nature mitigated against absolute rule.

Now the Court Mage of Galadorna was striding wearily bedward, looking forward to some solid hours of staring up into the darkness and getting some real thinking work done on the governance of a feud-festering little kingdom.

It is composed of thousands of complex and delicate mechanisms, which perform their functions harmoniously and perfectly, in accordance with laws devised for their governance, and over which the man himself has no authority, no mastership, no control.

Similarly, a full assessment of the role of this aetheric magic in the governance of the Old Empire must now be made.

All the beach towns, plus Torrance, Hawthorne, and greater Walteria, were in on some grandiose pilot project bankrolled with inexhaustible taxpayer millions, appropriate chunks of which were finding their way to antidrug entities up and down every level of governance.

Now that Van had learned, by startling counterexamples, something about sound and competent governance, he was very aware that the Terror was just the Bubble by another name.

He wore the black dress uniform of his Celestials and a crescent gorget with nine assorted sunburst insignia picked out in glittering gemstones against black enamel, to represent the star-systems under his governance.

We are now conducting these elections, I must point out to you, and the governance of Rome will proceed in future years as it was always intended to proceed!

In this way the outlying populations have been encouraged to take upon themselves their own governance, and the governing power of the President and his cabinet has been kept within moderate limits.

At issue during this period were questions of justice, governance, and the obligation and right of universities to act as parents to their students, placing limits on their personal behavior.