Strategizing in liminal spaces: Board practice, strategy and informality

Authors: Nordberg, D. and Concannon, M.

Start date: 8 September 2015

Boards operate in a liminal, non-hierarchical space, neither inside the company nor outside, creating ambiguity between service and control functions. With repeated corporate governance crises, however, new prescriptions institutionalized in law, regulation and codes of conduct have added weight to the control side, marked by monitoring and compliance tasks. Taking a cue from the strategy-as-practice literature, this study revisits the work of directors on the other side, their engagement with strategizing. Formalization of board processes has led to greater structure and reduced the liminality of the board. Using interviews with 20 directors of a range of organization types, this study finds that directors have experimented with creating new liminal spaces using informal practices, with implications for theory of boards, board activities and public policy.

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