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Exploring Antecedents and Impact of Board Effectiveness in Clean-Tech Enterprises

Contingency, Behavioural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Public and Nonprofit Governance

ISBN: 978-1-78560-429-4, eISBN: 978-1-78560-428-7

Publication date: 6 November 2015



Given prior limited research on boards in clean-tech enterprises, we investigate what constitutes an effective board exploring in-depth: who the board members are, what roles they perform and how these roles are performed.


Our study is an inductive, multiple case study of five clean-tech enterprises established in Norway.


We find that board composition in terms of complementary resources that the top management team lacks added by outside directors, their increased engagement in the board service role and board behavioural integration are important constituents of board effectiveness, which in turn translates into the increased levels of the firm’s strategic action capabilities, both action speed and breadth.

Research limitations/implications

We suggest that these three constituents (prevalence of outside directors, board service role engagement and board behavioural integration) together make up the board contribution, which is most valued by clean-tech enterprises in the earliest stages of their development. Future research could be conducted in other types of high-tech start-ups and/or in other hybrid social enterprises to strengthen the generalizability of our findings.


While the mainstream governance research focuses on for-profit boards in large established companies, our study adds to the research on non-for-profit governance and boards in clean-tech enterprises that are both small entrepreneurial and hybrid social enterprises.




This chapter has benefited from the presentation, discussions and feedback received from the participants of the Corporate Governance Workshop at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, December 5 2014. The authors are particularly grateful to Mirjam Knockaert, Amedeo Pugliese and Elien Vandenbroucke.


Bjornali, E.S. and Ellingsen, A. (2015), "Exploring Antecedents and Impact of Board Effectiveness in Clean-Tech Enterprises", Contingency, Behavioural and Evolutionary Perspectives on Public and Nonprofit Governance (Studies in Public and Non-Profit Governance, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 31-56.



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