Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to provide an account of corporate governance practices in Bangladesh. This paper demonstrates that the traditionalist culture mediates the rationalist/legalist framework of corporate governance in Bangladesh. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A series of semi-structured interviews were conducted. Observations and the personal working experience of one of the researchers, along with documentation, provided rich sources of information for the paper. Findings ‐ The findings show that families have a dominant presence in all aspects of corporate governance. Boards of directors in companies play a significant part in serving the interests of families rather than those of general shareholders. Research limitations/implications ‐ This study focuses on corporate governance practices in a traditional setting and shows how traditional culture and values are in conflict with the rational ideas imported from a different setting. Originality/value ‐ The paper adds to the literature on corporate governance, especially in the context of less-developed countries. It will be of great value to researchers and practitioners seeking to gain a better understanding of corporate governance frameworks in various settings.