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Title: The phenomenological complexity of boardroom’s research
Authors: Rebeiz, Karim 
Affiliations: Faculty of Business and Management 
Keywords: Boardroom effectiveness
Boardroom research
Boardroom structure
Corporate performance
Directorship type
Issue Date: 2022-07-27
Part of: Corporate Governance (Bingley)
Volume: 22
Issue: 2
Start page: 1243
End page: 1258
Purpose: The quest to unravel the mysterious boardroom’s structure that would confer the firm with incremental layers of economic supremacy has emerged as an issue of considerable importance in the corporate governance literature. Despite numerous attempts, corporate governance research has repeatedly failed to establish a clear and unequivocal theoretical linkage between the boardroom type and the corporate performance. Specifically, the optimum boardroom’s structure (i.e. one that would yield maximum economic benefit) remains an elusive dilemma. Undoubtedly, this problematic deserves more scrutiny. This study aims to expose the different layers of dimensional complexities related to boardroom’s research, particularly as it relates to those investigations using the positivist philosophy of research via inferential statistics using hypothetico-deductive reasoning. Design/methodology/approach: The author examines the intrinsic complexities of boardroom’s research using thematic analysis. In the first phase, the author conducts a fine-grained systematic review of published studies in scholarly peer-reviewed journals. In the second phase, the author conduct a phenomenological investigation via semi-structured interviews with 35 seasoned corporate governance scholars with sound knowledge and expertise on boardroom’s research. Findings: The thematic analysis reveals three overarching complexity dimensions encountered in boardroom’s research: an input dimension related to the ontological complexity of corporations. Research on boardroom’s effectiveness entails the manipulation and analysis of a plethora of convoluted and intertwined corporate performance determinants. Such explanatory variables are difficult to capture, untangle and operationalize; a processing dimension related to the methodological complexity of dealing with imperfect and incomplete information. Positivist research often uses large archival databases marred with endogeneity complications; an output dimension epitomizing the epistemological complexity of ascertaining what really constitutes corporate performance. The currently adopted performance metrics (accounting or market indicators) do not adequately depict the essence of boardroom’s effectiveness and corporate success. Research limitations/implications: Boardroom’s research continues to generate high level of interests in academic circles. Specifically, research on the linkage of boardroom’s structure and corporate performance is both unclear and confusing. This lingering deficiency necessitates the adoption of novel epistemological and methodological approaches to broaden the theoretical perspectives of boardroom’s structural effectiveness. Practical implications: One key motivation of this study is to entice boardroom’s research to venture in the direction of uncharted territories. Knowledge discovery in this important area would have far-reaching implications on corporate governance best practices, including how to restructure existing boardrooms or how to establish new ones from scratch. Social implications: A well-functioning boardroom would justifiably push the firm in the direction of healthier corporate governance. In turn, healthier corporate governance would eventually yield superior corporate performance with positive consequences on key stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, regulators and other members of the profession and the society. Originality/value: In this paper, the author endeavors to identify and explain the root causes behind the complex nature of boardroom’s research. The author particularly focuses on the factors that blur or distort the causal linkage between boardroom’s type and corporate performance. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first comprehensive investigation that attempts to highlight the inherently complex nature of boardroom’s research. Thus, it fills an important gap in the literature.
ISSN: 14720701
DOI: 10.1108/CG-11-2021-0416
Ezproxy URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Department of Business Administration

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