Subordinate board structures
AbstractThe board of directors is a flat governance structure where each director has an equal vote in determining the collective actions taken by the group. Yet, some boards choose to delegate authority for specific tasks to numerous committees, while others choose to create relatively few subcommittees of the board. We investigate the determinants of subordinate board structures, exploring both their benefits and costs. Using a sample of the S&P 1500 we find that subordinate board structures are positively related to board size and the proportion of outside directors, even after controlling firm characteristics such as complexity and ownership structure. Further tests indicate that these board structures can offset the negative associations that board size and the proportion of outsiders can have with firm performance. Yet, in firms with relatively small or insider oriented boards, where co-ordination problems among directors or social loafing may be less pronounced, we find that subordinate board structures are negatively related to firm performance. Categorizing committees as either monitoring or advisory, we find that both types of committees appear related to firm performance. Taken as whole, these results are consistent with the idea that subordinate board structures can be a costly remedy to alleviate problems that arise with larger, more outsider dominated boards.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Corporate Finance.
Volume (Year): 16 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jcorpfin
Board committees Social loafing Corporate governance;
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