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The InBoard Emotional Contagion Model

Emotions and Organizational Governance

ISBN: 978-1-78560-998-5, eISBN: 978-1-78560-997-8

ISSN: 1746-9791

Publication date: 7 June 2016



The quality of strategic decisions made at the helm of corporations matters a great deal. Predominantly, research on strategic decision-making has focused on CEOs as if they decide alone. Yet in reality, even the most powerful CEO makes strategic decisions together with an executive board. This chapter offers a theoretical explanation of strategic board decision-making through the emotional contagion between the CEO and board members.


We used both previous research and qualitative material – two case studies and interviews with several dozen CEOs of large corporations as well as the board members of one of them – to build our theoretical model.


Our inBoard Emotional Contagion Model (inBECM) specifies the following individual–collective emotional dynamics: After a strategic affective event has triggered an affective discussion within the boardroom, the emotionally intelligent CEO communicates verbally in order to – through an emotional contagion – homogenize board members’ emotional states leading to shared sense-making of the event and – potentially – to improved decision-making.

Research/ Social/Practical implications

Suggestions are made for the inBECM contribution to emotion theory. Implications are stated for the key role of emotion in improving board decision-making and strategizing.



Haag, C. and Getz, I. (2016), "The InBoard Emotional Contagion Model", Emotions and Organizational Governance (Research on Emotion in Organizations, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 143-167.



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