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Keywords:

  • Corporate Governance;
  • Business Policy and Strategy;
  • Board of Director Issues;
  • Board Policy Issues;
  • Governance Theories

ABSTRACT

Manuscript Type: Review

Research Question/Issue: Over the last four decades, research on the relationship between boards of directors and strategy has proliferated. Yet to date there is little theoretical and empirical agreement regarding the question of how boards of directors contribute to strategy. This review assesses the extant literature by highlighting emerging trends and identifying several avenues for future research.

Research Findings/Results: Using a content-analysis of 150 articles published in 23 management journals up to 2007, we describe and analyze how research on boards of directors and strategy has evolved over time. We illustrate how topics, theories, settings, and sources of data interact and influence insights about board–strategy relationships during three specific periods.

Theoretical Implications: Our study illustrates that research on boards of directors and strategy evolved from normative and structural approaches to behavioral and cognitive approaches. Our results encourage future studies to examine the impact of institutional and context-specific factors on the (expected) contribution of boards to strategy, and to apply alternative methods to fully capture the impact of board processes and dynamics on strategy making.

Practical Implications: The increasing interest in boards of directors' contribution to strategy echoes a movement towards more strategic involvement of boards of directors. However, best governance practices and the emphasis on board independence and control may hinder the board contribution to the strategic decision making. Our study invites investors and policy-makers to consider the requirements for an effective strategic task when they nominate board members and develop new regulations.