Board Meeting Attendance by Outside Directors

Directors miss out by not reading up on the latest research and best practices in board governance. But, with all the demands of governing an organization, who’s got the time? Luckily, Research Recap — our series where we give you the need-to-knows from the world of academia — is here to help. We’re keeping things short and sweet, so let’s get started!

The Thesis

Directors appointed from outside of the company are more likely to miss board meetings. Understanding the antecedents to their absence is a big part of mitigating it.

The Publication

Journal of Business Ethics

The Study

Board Meeting Attendance by Outside Directors

The Research

Empirical: Conclusions are driven by data rather than relying solely on an examination of theory.

The Set-Up

Researchers try to pinpoint key factors affecting the attendance rates of outside directors (and, spoiler alert: it involves a ton of math).

Note: This study uses data collected from Korean firms, meaning that some findings may vary slightly across countries and cultures.

The Takeaways

This study offers five major takeaways:

  1. Outside directors are less likely, on average, to attend board meetings.
  2. The attendance rates of outside directors rely heavily on personal characteristics (presumably their integrity) and the social context/implications behind their absence.
  3. Appointing outside directors through a formal nomination and screening process increases their attendance rates.
  4. “Re-appointed directors are more likely to attend board meetings.” The researchers suggest this implies that experiential learning impacts their attendance rates.
  5. Shockingly, the study found that busy board members have lower attendance rates. The number of other board positions a director holds is often used as a predictor of busyness. However, some of the busiest directors come from professions which are, on average, busier than others.
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Estimated reading time of the research = 45 minutes, 9 seconds.

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The Source

Min, B. S. 1. b. min@griffith. edu. a., & Chizema, A. a. chizema@bham. ac. u. (2018). Board Meeting Attendance by Outside Directors. Journal of Business Ethics, 147(4), 901–917.

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