If you were to look across the board research landscape, the view would be dominated by studies of large, publicly-listed (and typically Anglo–American) corporations. Small-medium enterprises, family-owned businesses and businesses in emerging economies have received far less attention (although this is starting to change), and social enterprises even less so.
Saskia Crucke, of Ghent University in Belgium, is interested in social enterprises and, more specifically, in the governance function. She reported the preliminary results of a study that is considering governance in a category of social enterprise called Work Integration Social Enterprise (WISE). WISEs help disadvantaged or disabled people enter or return to the workforce.
Crucke is using an organisational behaviour construct called 'faultlines' to try to understand why some WISEs perform better than others. She used a two-stage questionnaire (the first to ask the chairman and CEO about the WISE, and the second to ask all board members questions about decision-making and performance) to collect data from several dozen Belgian WISEs for analysis. Her preliminary findings show that where faultlines exist, decision-making is impaired and organisational performance is weaker.
While this result may sound self-evident to some, it does provide a useful platform for further (qualitative) research, to discover how and why decision-making is compromised, and to inform board member recruitment. If faultlines can be minimised, then higher levels of organisational performance may be possible on an on-going bass. For a sector that is typically cash-strapped, that would be a very good outcome.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.