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Beyond the Black Box of Demography: board processes and task effectiveness within Italian firms


  • Fabio Zona
  • Alessandro Zattoni

    (Parthenope University in Naples and SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan)


In this paper we analyse boards of directors as workgroups, i.e. groups of people that perform one or more tasks within an organisational context. Building on previous studies, we developed a model that relates group's social-psychological processes to three different board tasks: service, monitoring and networking. We tested our model through a survey on 301 large manufacturing firms in Italy. Our findings support the idea that (a) process variables and, to a limited extent, demographic variables significantly influence board task performance; (b) board processes have a different impact on each specific board task; (c) board task performance varies depending upon firm and industry characteristics. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation (c) 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Zona & Alessandro Zattoni, 2007. "Beyond the Black Box of Demography: board processes and task effectiveness within Italian firms," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 852-864, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:corgov:v:15:y:2007:i:5:p:852-864

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Melis, 2000. "Corporate Governance in Italy," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 347-355, October.
    2. Stiles, Philip & Taylor, Bernard, 2001. "Boards at Work: How Directors View their Roles and Responsibilities," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288763.
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    Cited by:

    1. Esther Del Brio & Toru Yoshikawa & Catherine Connelly & Wee Tan, 2013. "The Effects of CEO Trustworthiness on Directors’ Monitoring and Resource Provision," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 155-169, November.
    2. Steijvers, Tensie & Niskanen, Mervi, 2014. "Tax aggressiveness in private family firms: An agency perspective," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 347-357.
    3. Karin Jonnergård & Anna Stafsudd, 2011. "The making of active boards in Swedish public companies," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 15(1), pages 123-155, February.
    4. Verica Babić & Jelena Nikolić & Jelena Erić, 2011. "Rethinking Board Roles Performance: Towards Integrative Model," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 56(190), pages 140-162, July – Se.
    5. Zona, Fabio, 2014. "Board leadership structure and diversity over CEO time in office: A test of the evolutionary perspective on Italian firms," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 672-681.
    6. Zona, Fabio, 2016. "Agency models in different stages of CEO tenure: The effects of stock options and board independence on R&D investment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 560-575.
    7. Morten Huse & Sabina Nielsen & Inger Hagen, 2009. "Women and Employee-Elected Board Members, and Their Contributions to Board Control Tasks," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(4), pages 581-597, November.
    8. Corten, Maarten & Steijvers, Tensie & Lybaert, Nadine, 2017. "The effect of intrafamily agency conflicts on audit demand in private family firms: The moderating role of the board of directors," Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 13-28.
    9. Lippert, Inge, 2008. "Perspektivenverschiebungen in der Corporate Governance: Neuere Ansätze und Studien der Corporate-Governance-Forschung," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Knowledge, Production Systems and Work SP III 2008-302, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    10. Hongjin Zhu & Pengji Wang & Chris Bart, 2016. "Board Processes, Board Strategic Involvement, and Organizational Performance in For-profit and Non-profit Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 311-328, June.
    11. Saskia Crucke & Mirjam Knockaert, 2016. "When Stakeholder Representation Leads to Faultlines. A Study of Board Service Performance in Social Enterprises," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 768-793, July.
    12. Fabio Zona, 2016. "CEO leadership and board decision processes in family-controlled firms: comparing family and non-family CEOs," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 735-753, October.
    13. Jelena Nikolić & Verica Babić, 2016. "The Implications Of Ownership Concentration Forshareholder Protection And Strategic Decision-Making," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 61(211), pages 69-98, October -.

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