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Book chapter
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Reference no. BEP0007
Chapter from: "Blind Spots, Biases, and Other Pathologies in the Boardroom"
Published by: Business Expert Press
Published in: 2010

Abstract

This chapter is excerpted from ‘Blind Spots, Biases, and Other Pathologies in the Boardroom'. Chapter 7. This chapter explains why conflict is inherent in group work and how it can have deleterious effects on group processes and outcomes. Focusing on the undesirability of conflict and on the role of individuals who create it is warranted because it reflects our personal experiences. However, it belies the fact that conflict is an inherent part of group life, and it can be beneficial to group performance. Corporate governance is one of the hottest topics in the business world now, as it always is in times of stress. Some of the recently discovered scandals and corporate failures can be traced back to corporate governance failures. Boards of directors must share some of the blame in many of the failures. Something was not working right, even in some boardrooms full of highly qualified individuals. 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. This book is intended for board members, managers, and advanced students who want to further their knowledge of boardroom behavior and, particularly, the negative effects that are produced by common boardroom dynamics. The readers of this book will benefit by becoming aware of these potentially serious problems, possible remedies, and tradeoffs that must be made.

About

Abstract

This chapter is excerpted from ‘Blind Spots, Biases, and Other Pathologies in the Boardroom'. Chapter 7. This chapter explains why conflict is inherent in group work and how it can have deleterious effects on group processes and outcomes. Focusing on the undesirability of conflict and on the role of individuals who create it is warranted because it reflects our personal experiences. However, it belies the fact that conflict is an inherent part of group life, and it can be beneficial to group performance. Corporate governance is one of the hottest topics in the business world now, as it always is in times of stress. Some of the recently discovered scandals and corporate failures can be traced back to corporate governance failures. Boards of directors must share some of the blame in many of the failures. Something was not working right, even in some boardrooms full of highly qualified individuals. 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. This book is intended for board members, managers, and advanced students who want to further their knowledge of boardroom behavior and, particularly, the negative effects that are produced by common boardroom dynamics. The readers of this book will benefit by becoming aware of these potentially serious problems, possible remedies, and tradeoffs that must be made.

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