Blind Spots, Biases and Other Pathologies in the Boardroom

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Business Expert Press, May 25, 2010 - Business & Economics - 200 pages
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In this book we argue that as a first step it is important to recognize these group dynamics and the problems they cause. Some of them can be minimized through, for example, properly designed decision processes. Others are more complicated. But all of them need to be recognized and understood so that we can properly shape our expectations of the degree and quality of oversight corporate boards of directors can provide, and so that we can turn our energy toward the many group level factors that could improve board performance going forward.
 

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About the author (2010)

Ken Merchant, holder of the Deloitte & Touche LLP Chair of Accoutancy at the University of Southern California, has been doing performance measurement-related research for over 30 years. He has authored eight books, including Management Control Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation and Incentives (published by Pearson/Financial times), scores of articles, and over 100 teaching cases on the topic. Professor Merchant has won multiple research awards. He serves on 11 academic editorial boards.

Katharina Pick has been engaged in research on corporate boards since 1998. She has interviewed over 100 directors, written seven Harvard Business School (HBS) case studies on corporate governance, provided fieldwork for two books on boards (Back to the Drawing Board, Carter and Lorsch 2004; Building Better Boards, Nadler, Behan, and Nadler 2005), and conducted two original qualitative research studies on boards for her PhD work. She has presented annually her work on boards at the Academy of Management Conference, has lectured in the HBS executive program Making Corporate Boards More Effective, and most recently has taught in the Corporate Governance MBA course at the Drucker School of Management. From 1999-2003 Katharina helped facilitate the “Global Corporate Governance Initiative,” an annual 3-day gathering at HBS of an elite group of 20 directors and CEOs of large global corporations from Europe, Asia, and North and South America. The gatherings were intensive, full-day discussion sessions focusing on the financial, legal, structural, and behavioral aspects of corporate governance systems and board functioning. Katharina’s doctoral dissertation work examined the group dynamics and internal working of boards and was based on the first-hand observation of 10 board meetings of American mid-cap public companies and interviews with their directors. This study was a departure from traditional boards research where direct observation is exceedingly rare. Pieces of the study are published in HBR and in a forthcoming book Boardroom Realities: Building Leaders across Your Board (editor Jay Conger).

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