Harmonious boards may not be the most effective. Eelke Heemskerk explores why the right kind of conflict can improve your board performance.
Right kind of bust-up. Photo: Shutterstock
What makes a board effective? A growing body of academic literature now agrees that it is only in part about the rules or regulations, and mostly about how board members work together.
In this growing literature of behavioural corporate governance, many assume the importance of social cohesion and harmony for board performance. While this sounds valid, recent research I conducted with my co-authors shows that avoiding conflict paradoxically hinders good governance.
We must take caution and not overstate the importance of social cohesion for board performance.
Conflict is typically considered to have a negative in
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