LEARNING IN BOARDS: A GROUNDED THEORY STUDY OF UK BOARDS OF DIRECTORS
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AuthorsABAYOMI OJEBODE, ADEREMI
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractBoards of directors have been described as an integral part of corporate governance research, being at "the apex of the internal control system" (Jensen, 1993, p.862). Early corporate governance research has examined whether, and to what extent, board characteristics impact on performance. However, the results of studies that focused on board structure/composition and performance produced mixed outcomes. Consequently, we saw the emergence of research on board processes and their impact on board task performance. Research on board processes is still ongoing, and scholars have been interested in, among other processes, how knowledge and skills by board members are being used (Gabrielsson and Huse, 2004; Kor and Sundaramurthy, 2009). At the same time, there is a gap within educational research on how knowledge is being created within teams that are episodic in nature, such as boards (Forbes and Milliken, 1999). As such, the concept of learning has to date been under-researched in a board context. In this thesis, board processes are studied by exploring the processes involved in the acquisition and sharing of knowledge and skills in boards. Further, as a response to calls for the adoption of alternative research approaches to the study of boards (Pettigrew, 1992; Johnson et al., 1996), this research is conducted using a qualitative method based on a grounded theory approach. The study is conducted based on evidence from semi-structured interviews with UK board members. The findings show that the creation of knowledge in boards depends on two dialectical processes of learning (acquisition of knowledge and skills from the external environment and sharing of knowledge and skills in the internal environment). The qualitative findings show that 1) directors possess certain levels of knowledge related to specific boards task – which is also known as directors’ knowledge base; 2) the gap between the level of knowledge and skills needed to perform specific board tasks and the directors knowledge base is regarded as a gap in directors’ knowledge; 3) that there are two processes of filling the gap(s) in directors’ knowledge – the process of acquiring knowledge and skills (from the external environment), and the process of sharing knowledge and skills within the board; 4) that there are factors which are impacting on the processes of acquiring and sharing knowledge in boards; and 5) the processes of learning in boards are circular and board members must continually update their knowledge to enhance their capabilities. The thesis contributes to knowledge by revealing new insights into how board members acquire knowledge and skills (processes of learning) and factors that are impacting on learning in boards, underpinning former conceptual models. Qualitative analysis itemised different types of processes for both acquiring and sharing knowledge and skills in boards. Additionally, the qualitative analysis revealed various forms of learning styles that are being employed by board members either to acquire or share knowledge and skills. Finally, this thesis contributes to qualitative research in boards and its findings have implications for board practice, especially boards’ tasks performance and processes of learning.
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY.