Governance comprises all governance processes - whether undertaken by the government of a state, a market or a network - over a social system (family, tribe, formal or informal organization, a territory or between territories) and through laws, norms, power or language of an organized society. [1] It refers to "processes of interaction and decision making between the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement or reproduction of social norms and institutions". [2] In layman's terms, it could be described as the political processes that exist within and between formal institutions.

Governance is the way in which rules, standards and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable. [citation needed] The degree of formality depends on the internal rules of a given organization and, externally, with its business partners. As such, governance can take many forms, motivated by many different motivations and with many different results. For example, a government can operate as a democracy in which citizens vote for who should govern and the public good is the goal, while a nonprofit or corporation can be governed by a small board of directors and pursue more specific goals.