Asia Pacific Journal of Management

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1059–1086 | Cite as

Board turnover in Taiwan’s public firms: An empirical study

  • Yunshi Liu
  • Linda C. Wang
  • Li Zhao
  • David AhlstromEmail author


Using a data set of 220 Taiwanese public firms with 2,200 observations over a ten-year period representing Taiwan’s economic takeoff period in the late 1990s, as well as six follow-up interviews conducted with top managers several years hence, this research examines the propensity of an important change variable for firms: the turnover of boards of directors. Specifically, it examines the relationship between board turnover and the organization’s environment, firm performance, and the largest shareholder’s control during a key period of economic transition and growth for Taiwan. The results show that substantial changes in board composition, though still not especially common in Taiwan, do occur, even in closely held companies. Turnover in the board is negatively related to the largest shareholder’s control power as well as firm performance. Board changes however, are not related to the environmental munificence and dynamism. These results are rather consistent with related research on firms in ethnic Chinese communities which suggests that top management and board turnover while not common, does sometimes occur, and more recent institutional and industrial change in Taiwan is likely encouraging further governance reform. This has implications for important facets of firm governance and change, as well as expanding our knowledge about firms domiciled in an ethnic Chinese community, particularly during times of economic transition and growth. Follow-up interviews with four top managers from our sample, along with one consultant and one government official in Taiwan provided additional confirmation and clarification of our results.


Corporate governance Board of directors Organizational change Ethnic Chinese firms Taiwan Institutional theory Culture 



This research is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Council (NSC 89-2416-H-029-010) of Taiwan and by an RGC Research Grant Direct Allocation from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2070465). We thank Shyh-jer Chen, Mike Wright, Michael N. Young, and Nitin Pangarkar for their helpful comments on previous versions of this manuscript, and Saraswathi “Sara” Sabapathy of Springer for her kind help. The authors would also like to thank Marc Ahlstrom of Burlington County College for his editorial and research assistance.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunshi Liu
    • 1
  • Linda C. Wang
    • 2
  • Li Zhao
    • 3
  • David Ahlstrom
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationNational Yunlin University of Science and TechnologyYunlinTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of ManagementMichigan State University, Eli Broad College of BusinessEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Department of Applied EconomicsShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Department of ManagementThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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