Run on East Side Bank, N.Y. 1912 February 16. Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

Why Boards Go Wrong: “It’s the Group, Stupid!”

Forrest Christian Governance, Reviews - Articles Leave a Comment

Back in 2005, the Brooklyn Law Review published the papers from the Corporate Misbehavior by Elite Decision-Makers Symposium, which Brooklyn Law School apparently held. Harvard’s Rakesh Khurana & Katharina Pick contributed a social-psychological look at how boards of directors of corporations can go wrong through social or group processes and how the current spate of “control the directors” changes have missed the boat by concentrating on the role of the individual.

The article is interesting because we all see these types of group dynamics. They appear in many places, including in Church Boards (non-clergy who have an oversight role over the clergy).

Illustrated London News, September 17, 1870 - Discussing the War in a Paris Café. From Wikimedia commons. Public Domain.

You can also manipulate people using some of their suggestions. Since hidden high potentials often face stiff resistance and even hatred, manipulating others’ perceptions is a valued skilled to have.

Khurana and Pick refer to a couple of external articles that are in themselves reviews of the literature. The J. Richard Hackman chapter is available online from Hackman himself at Harvard, although I had to do my own OCR on it, and clean up the pages. Charlan Nemeth and Barry Staw’s chapter (in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology) seems harder to track down, although you can get a taste from Google Books. It’s too bad that these things are available as eBooks: I’d pay a decent amount to get it. It’s heavily cited but a pain to find in print. At least out here.

Reviewed: Rakesh Khurana & Katharina Pick. 2005. “The Social Nature of Boards” [PDF]. Brooklyn Law Review, 70(4): 1259-1285.

Image Credit: Run on East Side Bank, N.Y. 1912 February 16. Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

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