Leader character in board governance

Abstract

Despite the critical leadership role that corporate boards play in organizations, the character of their members has been neglected in research studies. We used a multi-method data collection approach to explore whether current directors in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors believe that leader character plays an important role in board governance, particularly with regards to how boards make decisions, recruit new members, lead their organizations, and work together to perform their fiduciary and other responsibilities. Despite the perceived importance of leader character as reported by highly experienced corporate directors, we found that leader character is not commonly attended to in board conversations as a means to purposively improve the way boards operate. We outline practical implications of our findings as well as offer a call to action for future research on character in the context of board governance with the intent to improve governance in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors and hence to foster sustained excellence in organizations.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (File: 435-2013-1889) awarded to the first, third and fourth authors.

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Correspondence to Gerard Seijts.

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Seijts, G., Byrne, A., Crossan, M.M. et al. Leader character in board governance. J Manag Gov 23, 227–258 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10997-018-9426-8

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Keywords

  • Leadership
  • Character
  • Boards
  • Board effectiveness
  • Board governance