Towards a dynamic theory of boards: An organisational life cycle approach

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Bonn, I., & Pettigrew, A. (2009). Towards a dynamic theory of boards: An organisational life cycle approach. Journal of management & organization, 15(1), 2-16.

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2009 HERDC submission. FoR code: 1503

Copyright © Ingrid Bonn & Andrew Pettigrew, 2009.


We propose a research agenda that can assist in developing a dynamic and comprehensive theory of boards of directors. It is based upon the concept of temporality, with time being organised around the life-cycle metaphor, and integrates research on agency theory, decision-making theory and resource dependence theory. We identify three key roles of boards of directors:

1) Monitoring and controlling top management

2) Involvement in strategic decision-making; and

3) Providing access to resources and networks.

Our analysis suggests that boards perform all three roles, but that these roles change over time. We propose clear researchable questions for each stage of the organisational life cycle as well as the transition between the stages.

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This document has been peer reviewed.