Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top

April 15, 2001

book coverJay A. Conger, Edward E. Lawler III and David L. Finegold (Jossey-Bass, 2001)

Corporate boards are under fire. Investors, government agencies, communities, and employees are scrutinizing boards’ performance and challenging their decisions like never before — and it is likely this attention will only increase. How will the boards governing organizations in the twenty-first century change their practices and align their principles to satisfy those to whom they are accountable? The answer — leadership and corporate governance experts Jay Conger, Edward Lawler, and David Finegold say — lies in a dynamic and comprehensive set of practices and behaviors that make a board effective as a group.

In Corporate Boards, the authors explore the roles that corporate governance will play in the twenty-first-century organization and identify the key practices that make a board effective. Questioning the long-held assumption that boards are solely responsible to shareholders, the authors propose that the focus of judging a board’s success should move from a shareholder to a stakeholder point of view. The authors then go well beyond the issue of board accountability; they examine boards from a group and organizational effectiveness perspective and propose a framework that centers on what really influences effective governance behavior-information, knowledge, power, rewards, and opportunity.

Corporate Boards is filled with helpful lists of best practices and sample evaluation forms for CEOs and board members, and the book draws on extensive survey data from more than one thousand directors of publicly traded Fortune 1000 firms. This comprehensive analysis provides a unique mix of tools, best practices, applied theory, and research that boards can use to benchmark their progress.