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Can Directors Impact Performance? A case-based test of three theories of corporate governance


  • Gavin J. Nicholson
  • Geoffrey C. Kiel

    (The University of Notre Dame Australia)


We examine hypothesised links between the board of directors and firm performance as predicted by the three predominant theories in corporate governance research, namely agency theory, stewardship theory and resource dependence theory. By employing a pattern matching analysis of seven cases, we are able to examine the hypothesised link between board demography and firm performance expected under each theory. We find that while each theory can explain a particular case, no single theory explains the general pattern of results. We conclude by endorsing recent calls for a more process-orientated approach to both theory and empirical analysis if we are to understand how boards add value. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation (c) 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Gavin J. Nicholson & Geoffrey C. Kiel, 2007. "Can Directors Impact Performance? A case-based test of three theories of corporate governance," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(4), pages 585-608, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:corgov:v:15:y:2007:i:4:p:585-608

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Khanna, Tarun & Kogan, Joe & Palepu, Krishna, 2002. "Globalization and Similarities in Corporate Governance: A Cross-Country Analysis," CEI Working Paper Series 2002-6, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Franz Kellermanns & Kimberly Eddleston & Ravi Sarathy & Fran Murphy, 2012. "Innovativeness in family firms: a family influence perspective," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 85-101, January.
    2. Carrère, Céline & Fugazza, Marco & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2016. "On the heterogeneous effect of trade on unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 11540, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Reddy, Kotapati Srinivasa, 2015. "Revisiting and Reinforcing the Farmers Fox Theory: A Study (Test) of Three Cases in Cross-border Inbound Acquisitions," MPRA Paper 63561, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2015.
    4. repec:spt:fininv:v:7:y:2018:i:1:f:7_1_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jens Grigoleit, 2011. "Kapitalmarktreaktionen auf die Ankündigung des Wechsels von Vorstandsvorsitzenden in den Aufsichtsrat bei deutschen Unternehmen," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 131-157, January.
    6. Niamh M. Brennan & Collette E. Kirwan & John Redmond, 2016. "Accountability processes in boardrooms: A conceptual model of manager-non-executive director information asymmetry," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 135-164, January.
    7. Sehleanu Mariana, 2015. "Creating Or Destroying Value Through Mergers And Acquisitions?," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 593-600, July.
    8. Reddy, Kotapati Srinivasa, 2016. "Institutional Voids and Tax litigation in Emerging Economies: The verdict of Vodafone cross-border acquisition of Hutchison," MPRA Paper 74264, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.
    9. Jacqueline Christensen & Pamela Kent & Jenny Stewart, 2010. "Corporate Governance and Company Performance in Australia," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 20(4), pages 372-386, December.
    10. Kallifatides, Markus & Petrelius Karlberg, Pernilla, 2012. "What makes for a value-creating corporate board? A literature synthesis and suggestions for research," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration 2012:1, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 25 Jun 2013.
    11. repec:spt:fininv:v:7:y:2018:i:1:f:7_1_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nguyen, Tuan & Locke, Stuart & Reddy, Krishna, 2014. "A dynamic estimation of governance structures and financial performance for Singaporean companies," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-11.
    13. Geoffrey Martin & Remzi Gözübüyük & Manuel Becerra, 2015. "Interlocks and firm performance: The role of uncertainty in the directorate interlock-performance relationship," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 235-253, February.
    14. Nguyen, Tuan & Locke, Stuart & Reddy, Krishna, 2015. "Ownership concentration and corporate performance from a dynamic perspective: Does national governance quality matter?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 148-161.
    15. Takahiro NISHI, 2015. "Corporate diversification and board composition in Japanese electronics corporations," International Journal of Business and Management, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 3(2), pages 27-44, May.
    16. Afzalur Rashid, 2013. "CEO duality and agency cost: evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 17(4), pages 989-1008, November.
    17. repec:kap:jmgtgv:v:21:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10997-016-9372-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Huang, Tsu-Te (Andrew) & Chen, Le & Stewart, Rodney A. & Panuwatwanich, Kriengsak, 2013. "Leveraging power of learning capability upon manufacturing operations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 233-252.
    19. repec:hur:ijaraf:v:7:y:2017:i:2:p:117-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Du, Yan & Deloof, Marc & Jorissen, Ann, 2015. "The Roles of Subsidiary Boards in Multinational Enterprises," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 169-181.
    21. Reddy, Kotapati Srinivasa, 2015. "The State of Case Study Research in Mergers & Acquisitions: A Review of the Literature in Different Management Streams," MPRA Paper 63939, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2015.
    22. Afzalur Rashid, 2016. "Managerial Ownership and Agency Cost: Evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 137(3), pages 609-621, September.
    23. Afzalur Rashid, 2015. "Revisiting Agency Theory: Evidence of Board Independence and Agency Cost from Bangladesh," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 181-198, August.

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