Looking at the board of directors from the perspective of a collegial decision-making body is a fascinating exercise. In general, more attention is given to the obvious structural aspects of the board of directors such as the size, diversity and independence of the group composition, taking up the role as chairman etc. …
However, the board of directors can create value for the organisation by bringing a limited number of intelligent, expert and experienced board members around the table, led efficiently by a strong chairman and supported by relevant information, for an open and constructive debate about the agenda points. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. In short, we are talking about a magical recipe for effective boards.
Boards are composed of individual human beings and every board constitutes a unique combination of characters, skills, competences, virtues, values, drives, fear and joys that generates board specific dynamics.
Even though it sounds nice in theory, this is often not the reality. There are numerous anecdotes about all the things that can go wrong in a board of directors, examples of suboptimal, even enigmatic/unexplained decisions. What happens behind the doors of the board room is often concealed. This so-called “black box” of the board of directors intrigues many, has been proven highly controversial, and … gradually seems to reveal its secrets.
The realisation that the board is composed of a ‘group of people’ is gaining more attention. In addition, the board is not just a collection of individuals but a complex social system. Just as with other groups, boards are also susceptible to the pitfalls of group dynamics.
Board dynamics is complex and must take different levels of dynamics into account (individual and group). It is about processes, behaviour and emotions, interaction and influence, power differences, disagreements and conflicts, heuristics and biases, but also trust, cohesion and standards.
Encouraging board dynamics in an appropriate way, starts with acknowledging these underlying dynamics! Therefore, board dynamics is an important theme on the research agenda of GUBERNA. Supported by scientific research GUBERNA hopes to create a greater awareness amongst its members while simultaneously helping them to improve their behavioural skills and giving them the tools they need to succeed.
GUBERNA is convinced that board dynamics, while having the right focus and balance, will have a positive impact on the quality of decision making and on sustainable value creation.
You are not yet a member of GUBERNA?
Discover our membership benefits and join our network of over 2.700 governance actors (board members, shareholders, top managers en company leaders).