Wiki article on this topic: Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state, by a market or by a network – over a social system and whether through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society. 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". In lay terms, it could be described as the political processes that exist in and between formal institutions.
A variety of entities 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 by establishing laws. Other types of governing include an organization , a socio-political group , 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.
Governance is the way 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 or a corporation 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, think tanks, political parties, non-government organizations, community and media.
Like government, the word governance derives, ultimately, from the Greek verb kubernaein [kubernáo]. Its occasional use in English to refer to the specific activity of ruling a country can be traced to early modern England, when the phrase "governance of the realm" appears in works by William Tyndale and in royal correspondence between James V of Scotland and Henry VIII of England. The first usage in connection with institutional structures is in Charles Plummer's The Governance of England. This usage of governance to refer to the arrangements of governing became orthodox including in Sidney Low’s seminal text of the same title in 1904 and among some later British constitutional historians.