Mechanisms, Roles and Consequences of Governance: Emerging Issues: Volume 2


Table of contents

(13 chapters)

In recent years, increasing scholarly attention has been directed towards the field of governing bodies research. However, little attention has been paid to the behavioural perspective on studying public boards. Aiming to fulfil this gap this paper offers a review of the international literature addressing boards behaviour within the unique organizational setting of public sector.


Considering as behavioural studies those publications focusing on actors, processes, decision-making, relationships and interaction inside and outside the boardroom, 91 papers were analysed. Adopting the framework provided by Huse (2007), the papers are classified following four behavioural dimensions/blocks which are crucial to understand board dynamics: board members, interactions, structures and leadership, decision-making culture.


The literature review shows the increasing production – in the last years – on the theoretical issues related to the behavioural perspective in public governance literature. The most relevant part of these contributions addresses the theoretical dimensions of the board member’s characteristics and of structural leadership.

Originality/value of the chapter

The manuscript reveals the need to adopt a more organizational approach for studying the behavioural categories and levels of analysis proposed by public governance literature. Moreover, the article evidences some possible directions for future research that might further contribute to enrich the ‘behavioural governance perspective’ in public organizations.


The chapter aims to conceptually explore how to govern public sector organizations in order to create public value. It focuses on the importance of knowledge-intensive processes in creating public value as well as the challenges in governing such fragile processes.


We use organizational theory and respective concepts in the field of organizational design focusing on cognitive and motivational aspects. These are explained by group theories and concepts of conditional cooperation.


We show the important role and the antecedents of self-governance in creating public value based on knowledge creation, sharing and use, whereas the classical method of hierarchical and bureaucratic procedural-based governance (via rules and direct supervision) as well as the more modern method of output-based governance (via so-called key performance indicators) fails to govern public value in this form.

Research limitations/implications

The heuristic model differentiates between modes of governance. Their mutual interplay and empirical evidence are yet needed for substantiating the findings.

Practical implications

Self-organizing mechanisms require behavioural antecedents of the involved actors: on the one hand there is a need for a minimum of mutual understanding in the sense of ‘cognitive compatibility’ and on the other, a minimum of ‘willingness to cooperate’.

Social implications

Participating public employees and citizens need to cultivate participatory and collaborative governance mechanisms in order to create public value. These can be understood as supplementing and enriching existing ones rather than replacing them.

Originality/value of the paper

This chapter contributes to research in public administration in that the concept of public value with a focus on knowledge-intensive collaboration is specified. A new path is taken, originating from organizational theory and motivational theory that are transferred into public administration in order to show how collaborative governance should be employed and how motivational and cognitive aspects should be considered.

Research question

This paper empirically examines the impact of corporate governance reforms on the financial performance of Indian state-owned enterprises (SOEs) for the period 2003–2011.

Research findings/insights

The findings indicate that the various corporate governance reforms collectively exhibited a statistically significant positive impact on performance when a difference in difference estimation process is used. However, the performance of SOEs is less than that of publicly listed companies, which is consistent with prior research. When the SOEs are compared with a matched pairing of publicly listed companies of similar size and same industry, their performance was comparable and in many instances superior. This is indicative of the regulatory constraints on competitors and preferential access to resources and markets given to the SOEs. As SOEs move towards a more mixed ownership model with more of them listed on the stock exchange and greater public ownership of shares the corporate governance issues will increase in importance.

Theoretical/academic implications

The controlled sell down of shares in SOEs presents a need for continuing governance reforms and ongoing research to track progress.

Practitioner/policy implications

The most striking observation from the study is that changes that were introduced as a corporate governance reform, such greater professionalism in boards, did not gain traction and enhance performance, rather the process of director selection and the concentrated bureaucratic and political interference stymied what was asserted to be conceptually sound reforms.

Purpose of this Paper

Networks are by now popular inter-organizational coordination modes. However, there is still much to know regarding how networks are governed and how their governance develops and changes through time.


This paper addresses the research question how does the governance form of networks develops over time by empirically studying the European telecommunications regulatory network using a case study approach.


We find that the network’s governance system is determined by the dialectical tension between network members (National Regulatory Agencies) and an external very influential body (the European Commission).

This tension unifies the group in the classic external conflict–internal cohesion fashion. We also identify a second dialectical tension internal to the network among its members. The tensions are triggered by evaluations carried out by an external actor (the European Commission). In general, the process observed confirms the propositions that predict a formalizing of the governance as the network grows older.

Research limitations/Implications

This research is based on a single case, a broader analysis of other regulatory networks among network industries at the European Union level will help researchers to establish a more comprehensive picture on the development of the governance form of this specific subset of goal-directed networks.


Recent literature on nonprofit boards of directors has extensively investigated the composition, role, responsibilities, and characteristics of boards. Given the growing number of studies on nonprofit boards, which added new impulse to the debate on the role and characteristics of these players, it is time to analyze the state of the art and systematize the current knowledge. On the other hand, despite the presence of some literature reviews, a research comparing the debate among the nonprofit, private, and public sectors is still lacking. Using Gabrielsson and Huse’s (2004) framework, we wanted to identify factors that can influence research on nonprofit boards and compare our results with existing studies on private and public sector.


We conduct a systematic literature review, selecting empirical articles published in international scientific journals from 1992 to 2012.


We found similarities and differences in relation to research on boards among sectors. As a common result, we found that evolutionary studies still remains a neglected area in all of three realms. Finally, whereas input–output studies prevail in the private sector and contingency studies prevail in the public sector, behavioral studies prevail in the nonprofit sector, demonstrating, also, that the sector itself can make a difference in the board’s research.

Research Limitations/Implications

This literature review provides some suggestion for further research on boards for all of three sectors. For example, we suggest complementing research on boards on all three sectors, especially in relation to evolutionary studies.

Originality/Value of Paper

This paper fills the need to clarify the status of research on nonprofit boards, in order to address scholars in the understanding of the phenomenon.


This paper examines the role that effective governance plays in driving the strategies of grant-giving foundations as it relates to supporting various types of charitable and philanthropy activities of public interest. Today, foundations are more than ever active as pivotal element of the so called ‘private welfare state’ all around Europe and the United States. While other forms of organizations involved in philanthropy and public welfare face competition (i.e. corporations), budget constrain (i.e. governments) or fundraising imperatives (i.e. NGOs), private foundations do not feel such a pressure and can, therefore, tackle social issues that other organizations may not. Despite this privileged position, the role of governance in such non-profit organizations is far from certain. Prior literature review shows the lack of empirical analysis related to the role of governance in foundations as they attempt to shape various projects of strong public interest.


Given foundations’ unique societal role and obligations and the fiscal advantages enjoyed by them, the objective of this study is to explore the factors that drive their decision-making and resource allocation process and to examine the efficacy of their financial and non-financial resource allocation decisions. Using the data collected from 112 large Italian foundations, this paper studies the relationship between the governance mechanism and philanthropic strategies of private foundations.


The significance of the study is based on the fact that in the non-profit sector, more than in the for-profit one, board members are called to play a strong advisory role at the top of their traditional monitoring role. In other words, active boards are expected to screen relevant public needs and to properly invest foundations’ resources in meritorious projects; while inert boards risks to pursuit private goals, camouflaged as public interest, and to dissipate resources by unconditionally financing unrelated grant requests.


This paper aims to empirically examine if and how different governance attributes associate with different philanthropic strategies. The choice of Italian foundations represents an ideal research environment considering the strong reduction of governmental social spending due to the financial crisis and the simultaneous increase in the social relevance of private foundations to support social causes of significance.


This article aims at investigating knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) between founder firms and corporate foundations (CFs), looking at mechanisms able to enhance CFs’ orientation of effectiveness.


We analyze 50 questionnaires collected through a survey of CFs based in Italy (redemption of 42.7% of the total). We use a number of regressions to verify the change of explained variance moving from a basic model with control variables (enter method) and a model including KTE mechanisms with an impact on orientation to effectiveness (stepwise method).


The analysis produced a model which underlines the influence of knowledge transfer mechanisms in stimulating orientation to effectiveness. The adoption of specific knowledge transfer mechanisms by founder firms can have a significant influence on how CFs manage their effectiveness. Three mechanisms emerge from the study as elements with a positive impact.

Practical implication

The results apply to nonprofit or public bodies, especially if we consider partnerships or organizational networks. The individuated criteria for selecting a positive KTE could drive similar choices of other nonprofit bodies.

Social implication

The study individuates a set of practices that are potentially able to influence positively the orientation to effectiveness of CFs, and the capacity to perform their activities and respond to social needs more successfully.


This research considers CFs as founder firms’ subsidiaries, with a growing strategic importance. This research reveals how KTE mechanisms can foster the development of orientation to effectiveness if implying interaction, firms’ commitment, autonomy, and alignment with the firms’ strategy and CFs’ purposes.

Background and Purpose

There are different types of non-profit organisations (NPOs) characterised by the different extents of their volunteer management practices. In addition, the use of volunteer work measurement tools is infrequent among these organisations, especially in contexts where NPOs face no obligations or standard practices in this area, such as in Italy. The literature has stated that volunteer programmes and activities are effective if a NPO is highly structured and employs good volunteer management practices and that the measurement of volunteer work may increase the effectiveness of such programmes; this is frequent, for instance, in US NPOs. However, what would occur if a NPO introduces the measurement of volunteer work in a context where volunteer management is not highly structured, such as in Italy?


To study this topic, we adopt the quasi-experimental approach to examine six Italian voluntary organisations (VOs) based in Abruzzo. The treatment consists of the gradual introduction of volunteer work measurement tools to the managers and volunteers who work for the selected organisations, as well as the observation of the early impact of this treatment on the effectiveness of volunteer programmes and activities. This paper aims to discuss the issue of the implementation of measurement tools for effectively managing volunteer services in two different contexts: Italian and US NPOs.

Findings and Implication

Our findings have practical implications, especially with regard to the management of relatively unstructured volunteer organisations that would like to introduce new tools of measurement but do not have the necessary skills to do so. We also wish to show in this work how some organisations are implementing these tools and highlight the initial effects produced by this implementation process.


This study is innovative, particularly for contexts in which there are no obligations and customs with regard to the measurement of volunteer work.

Publication date
Book series
Studies in Public and Non-Profit Governance
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN