Governance refers to “all 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 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.”
To distinguish the term governance from government: a government is a formal body invested with the authority to make decisions in a given political system. In this case the governance process, which includes all the actors involved in influencing the decision-making process (such as lobbies, parties, medias), is centered on the relevant “governing body”. Whether the organization is a geopolitical entity (nation-state), acorporation (a business or organization incorporated as a legal entity), a socio-political entity (chiefdom, tribe, family, etc.), or an informal one, its governance is the way the rules, norms and actions are produced, sustained, regulated and held accountable. The degree of formality depends on the internal rules of a given organization.