There has been increasing interest in Australia regarding corporate boards, their role and the contribution they make to organisations' performance and success. There is however, a gap in our knowledge about what board members do. To better understand boards, we need to know more about the behaviour of those who sit on boards. Many chairmen and all non‐executive directors serve on corporate boards in a part‐time capacity, however, such part‐time service does not negate a role in strategy. The purpose of this paper is to ask how, if at all, do part‐time board members influence strategy in Australian public companies?
This paper first examines the literature on choice, change and control as key aspects of firms' strategic conduct. Second, attention turns to generating empirical data to examine how part‐time board members engage with these processes. Attention is given to the actions of part‐time board members vis‐à‐vis executive directors, both inside and outside the boardroom. Data from interviews with 20 board members are interpreted using the 1999 framework of McNulty and Pettigrew which conceptualises part‐time board members' involvement in strategy as: ”taking strategic decisions”, ”shaping strategic decisions” and ”shaping the content, context and conduct of strategy”.
Each of the three levels of part‐time board member involvement in strategy described by McNulty and Pettigrew engage part‐time board members in processes of choice, change and control in differing ways. Part‐time board members are able to shape both the ideas that form the content of corporations' strategies and the methodologies and processes by which those ideas evolve. In so doing, part‐time board members are capable of exerting control over management and influencing processes of strategic choice and change. Boards of directors have a role in strategy formulation, strategic decision‐making and strategic control.
The board's role is in the driver's seat not as a rubber stamp. A process whereby board members can engage and exert a controlling influence over strategic direction and outcomes of the corporation is of benefit not only to Australian corporations but has global corporate benefit. The paper describes and analyses the contribution to strategy made by board members in five Australian companies
This paper describes and analyzes the contribution to strategy made by board members in five Australian companies.
Kemp, S. (2006), "In the driver's seat or rubber stamp? The role of the board in providing strategic guidance in Australian boardrooms", Management Decision, Vol. 44 No. 1, pp. 56-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740610641463Download as .RIS
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