Limitations, Further Research, and Conclusions - Corporate Governance and Business Ethics

This current study is exploratory and constrained by a number of limitations. The most obvious limitation is the sample, the general population as well as owner, senior, and middle managers, which is the drive for board research in this area. However, the research thus far does have the benefit of providing a culturally and managerially anchored reference point. Although integrity has the greatest impact on board performance, other factors have not been investigated, e.g., competence (Kouzes and Posner 2002).

This research indicates possible future directions. Qualitative research into the personal values of directors and perceptions of integrity could be a useful component to future research. We also suggest further research into the notion of “back up style” (McAlister and Darling 2005) in stressful situations. Board disengagement may be causing sub-optimal decision making, which could make for an interesting area of inquiry. For example, in the case of an Inner Directed director not being engaged, e.g., by a conversation about compliance which would be several levels below his/her level of engagement, may lead to him/her falling back to the previous needs level, i.e., Outer Directed, resulting in decision making driven by the need for self-esteem. This would cause a sense that his/her own integrity had been compromised. Compound this by a majority of people in the room going through this in their own terms and everyone begins to feel bad about what’s happening and, worse, the possibility of sub-optimal decision making. We believe this is a board dynamic worth exploring.

It is clear that research into the personal values of directors is a fruitful area to explore. The tools now exist and the potential applications and benefits are enormous. The question now is, will boards take up the challenge? Will they allow access to do the research? And will funds be made available to make it happen?

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