Internal Governance in the Nonprofit Boardroom: A Participant Observer Study

12 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2007


This paper presents the results of a longitudinal complete member researcher participant observer study of two nonprofit association boards with particular reference to their internal corporate governance processes. In doing so, it offers one of the very few available insider observational studies of boardroom behaviour currently available in the management literature. Its inductive analysis reveals boards that proactively manage director recruitment and selection, board member terms and rotation, with a strong emphasis on board membership diversity and representation. A clear progression from informal to formal processes of board and director performance evaluation are observed, and a variability in board-CEO relationships is explored. Agenda structuring changes are observed to directly impact upon strategy and policy focus, while informality and humour emerge as key weapons in the maintenance of cohesion in an increasingly business-oriented environment. Boardroom culture emerges as a potent ingredient in the governance process, thereby signalling its future importance for both researchers and board chairs.

Suggested Citation

Parker, Lee D., Internal Governance in the Nonprofit Boardroom: A Participant Observer Study. Corporate Governance: An International Review, Vol. 15, No. 5, pp. 923-934, September 2007, Available at SSRN: or

Lee D. Parker (Contact Author)

RMIT University ( email )

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Melbourne 3000
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#61399256524 (Fax)

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