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The Four “Ps” of Corporate Governance

Insights Tuesday, 11 August 2020 05:14
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Corporate governance is a complex discipline. Even those of us who have built our careers in fields where governance is a necessity might not fully understand everything it encompasses. Moreover, new circumstances and terminologies keep emerging as businesses open shops.

That’s why I think the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda (ICGU) should keep visiting the subject and sharing new thoughts amongst its Members through this open forum. Today I would like to discuss the subject of Corporate governance by breaking it down into four simple words: People, Purpose, Process, and Performance.

These are normally referred to as the Four “Ps” of Corporate Governance, the guiding philosophies behind why governance exists and how it operates. Let’s have a look at exactly what each of the Ps means.


People come first in the Four Ps because people exist on every side of the business equation. They are the founders, the board, the stakeholder and consumer and even impartial observer.

People are the organisers who determine a purpose to work towards, develop a consistent process to achieve it, evaluate their performance outcomes and impacts, and use those outcomes to grow themselves and others as people.

It’s cyclical, yes, but it has to start with people.


Purpose is the next step. Every piece of governance exists for a purpose and to achieve a purpose. The ‘for’ is the guiding principles of the organisation. Their mission statements. Every one of their policies and projects should exist to further this agenda.

The ‘achieve’ is the small step on the road to completing that large goal. It might seem pointless and timewasting to type up minutes for a meeting that appears to be obvious an “common-sense”, but remember that those minutes and all the other governance from that meeting contribute to making the business effective at achieving it’s stated purpose.


Governance is the process by which people achieve their company’s purpose, and that process is developed by analysing performance. Processes are refined over time in order to consistently achieve their purpose, and it’s always smart to fix a critical eye to your governance processes.

Can they be streamlined? Are they efficiently achieving their purpose? It takes work to make your processes function, but once they do you will quickly see how they can help your company grow.


Performance analysis is a key skill in any industry. The ability to look at the results of a process and determine whether it was successful (or successful enough), and then apply those findings to the rest of your organisation, is one of the primary functions of the governance process.

Using these results to develop personal skills, both your own and your co-workers’, is how the Four Ps cycle revolves endlessly. So, take a critical look at your governance all the time and ask: is it performing?

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 August 2020 08:17
Dison B Okumu

Mr. Dison Bosco Okumu holds a Master of Science in Statistics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. His first degree is a Bachelor of Statistics (Hons) of Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

He began his career in 1982 with the defunct Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) where he worked in various capacities as a Statistician; Senior Planner, Manager, Corporate Planning & Strategy; and Ag. General Manager Corporate Services. He also had a stint as a United Nations Volunteer in Banjul, The Gambia serving as a Statistician in the Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of the Republic of The Gambia from 1988 to 1994.

Mr. Okumu has joined ICGU from Parliamentary Service where he served as Director Corporate Planning & Strategy for 14 years.

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