Location of Repository

Inside the boardroom : exploring board member interactions

By Pieter-Jan Bezemer, Gavin Nicholson and Amedeo Pugliese


This study aims to open-up the black box of the boardroom by directly observing directors’ interactions during meetings to better understand board processes.\ud \ud Design/methodology/approach: We analyse videotaped observations of board meetings at two Australian companies to develop insights into what directors do in meetings and how they participate in decision-making processes. The direct observations are triangulated with semi-structured interviews, mini-surveys and document reviews. \ud \ud Findings: Our analyses lead to two key findings: \ud \ud (i) while board meetings appear similar at a surface-level, boardroom interactions vary significantly at a deeper level (i.e. board members participate differently during different stages of discussions) and \ud \ud (ii) factors at multiple levels of analysis explain differences in interaction patterns, revealing the complex and nested nature of boardroom discussions. \ud \ud Research implications: By documenting significant intra- and inter-board meeting differences our study \ud \ud (i) challenges the widespread notion of board meetings as rather homogeneous and monolithic, \ud \ud (ii) points towards agenda items as a new unit of analysis \ud \ud (iii) highlights the need for more multi-level analyses in a board setting.\ud \ud Practical implications: While policy makers have been largely occupied with the “right” board composition, our findings suggest that decision outcomes or roles’ execution could be potentially affected by interactions at a board level. Differences in board meeting styles might explain prior ambiguous board structure-performance results, enhancing the need for greater normative consideration of how boards do their work.\ud \ud Originality/value: Our study complements existing research on boardroom dynamics and provides a systematic account of director interactions during board meetings

Topics: 150000 COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES, Board of directors, board meetings, boardroom dynamics, board observations
Publisher: Emerald Publishing
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1108/QRAM-02-2013-0005
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:60572

Suggested articles



  1. (2007a), “Boardroom strategizing in professional associations: Processual and institutional perspective”,
  2. (2007b), “Internal governance in the nonprofit boardroom: A participant observer study”,
  3. (2012),"Do corporate governance codes improve board accountability?: Evidence from an emerging economy",
  4. (2000). An analysis of the behavioural dynamics of corporate governance: A talk-based ethnography of a UK manufacturing ‘board-in-action”,
  5. (2004). Back to the drawing board,
  6. (2008). Beyond facts and figures: The role of emotions in boardroom dynamics”,
  7. (2003). Board composition and corporate performance: How the Australian experience informs contrasting theories of corporate governance”,
  8. (2005). Board structure, process and performance: Evidence from public-listed companies in Singapore”,
  9. (2013). Board task evolution: A longitudinal field study in the UK”,
  10. (2008). Boardroom operational & financial control: An insider view”,
  11. (2013). Boardroom strategic decision-making style: Understanding the antecedents”,
  12. (2005). Boards at Work: How Corporate Boards Create Competitive Advantage, 24 Jossey-Bass Publishers,
  13. (1989). Boards of directors and corporate financial performance: A review and integrative model”,
  14. (2003). Boards of directors and firm performance: Integrating agency and resource dependence perspectives”,
  15. (1996). Boards of directors: A review and research agenda”,
  16. (2009). Boards of directors' contribution to strategy: A literature review and research agenda”,
  17. (2007). Boards, governance and value creation,
  18. (1989). Building theories from case study research”,
  19. (2003). Case study research: Design and Methods,
  20. (1999). Cognition and corporate governance: Understanding boards of directors as strategic decision-making groups”,
  21. (1999). Combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies to study group processes: An illustrative study of a corporate board of directors”,
  22. (2004). Context, behaviour, and evolution: Challenges in research on boards and governance”,
  23. (2003). Control and collaboration: Paradoxes of governance”,
  24. (2002). Corporate boards: Keys to effectiveness”,
  25. (2008). Corporate Governance,
  26. (2003). Corporate governance: Decades of dialogue and data”,
  27. (2009). Corporate governance: Principles, policies, and practices,
  28. (2005). Cultural adaptation and institutional change: The evolution of vocabularies of corporate governance,
  29. (2010). Designing Qualitative Research, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
  30. (2013). Developing corporate governance research through qualitative methods: A review of previous studies”,
  31. (2000). Doing ‘boards-in-action’ research: An ethnographic approach for the capture and analysis of directors’ and senior managers’ interactive routines”,
  32. (2009). Duties and responsibilities of directors and officers,
  33. (2011). Dynamics in groups: Are we there yet?”,
  34. (2010). Evidence for a collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groups”,
  35. (2005). Exploring the association between board and organizational performance in nonprofit organizations”,
  36. (2011). From the editors: Publishing in AMJ - Part 2: Research design”,
  37. (2009). Group Performance,
  38. (2008). Honest signals: How they shape the world,
  39. (2010). How boards strategise: A strategy as practice view”,
  40. (2005). Inside the boardroom, Wiley and Sons,
  41. (2011). Integration of micro and macro studies in governance research: CEO duality, board composition, and financial performance”,
  42. (2009). Laying the foundation for successful team performance: The role of team charters and performance strategies”,
  43. (2002). Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances,
  44. (2009). Making boards effective: An empirical examination of board task performance”,
  45. (2005). Modelling the multilevel determinants of top management team behavioural integration”,
  46. (2008). New directions in corporate governance research”,
  47. (2003). Non-executive directors: Moving beyond the ‘one-size-fits-all view”,
  48. (1992). On studying managerial elites”,
  49. (1989). Pawns or potentates: The reality of America’s corporate boards,
  50. (2002). Qualitative Research Methods and Evaluation Methods,
  51. (2010). sna: Tools for Social Network Analysis, R package version 2.2-0”, available at: http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=sna (accessed 11
  52. (2009). Social capital and social influence on the board of directors”,
  53. (2011). Social influence network theory: A sociological examination of small group dynamics.
  54. (2009). Strategic Leadership: Theory and research on executives, top management teams, and boards,
  55. (1999). Strategists on the board”,
  56. (2005). Studying board context, process and dynamics: Some challenges for the future”,
  57. (2004). Taking it from the top: How CEOs influence (and fail to influence) their boards”,
  58. (2007). The black box of board process: Gaining access to a difficult subject”,
  59. (1996). The contribution, power and influence of part-time board members”,
  60. (2008). The promise and peril of corporate governance indices”,
  61. (2012). The role of boards of directors in corporate governance: A conceptual framework and survey”,
  62. (2010). The role of the board of directors: Perceptions of managerial elites”,
  63. (2005). The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the making of quack corporate governance”,
  64. (1991). Time, interaction and performance (TIP): A theory of groups”,
  65. (2009). Toward a behavioural theory of boards and corporate governance”,
  66. (2009). Towards a dynamic theory of boards: An organisational life cycle approach”,
  67. (1997). Towards an attention-based view of the firm”,
  68. (2008). Trust, firm life cycle, and actual board behaviour: Evidence from “one of the lads” in the board of three small firms”,
  69. (2011). Walking new avenues in management research methods and theories: Bridging micro and macro domains”,
  70. (2011). What level of analysis is most salient for a global theory of corporate governance?”,
  71. (2001). When will boards influence strategy? Inclination times power equals strategic change”,
  72. (2006). Who’s in the boardroom and does it matter: The impact of having non-director executives attend board meetings”,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.