Design Concepts for Governance Architects

26 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2010 Last revised: 27 Oct 2010

See all articles by Shann Turnbull

Shann Turnbull

International Institute for Self-Governance; Sustainable Money Working Group; New Garden City Alliance

Date Written: March 19, 2010


Research Question/Issue: The objectives of this paper are to: (a) Identify criteria for custom designing the governance architecture of organisations to enhance their operations and sustainability; (b) Encourage practitioners and policy makers to: (i) custom design governance systems; (ii) apply the science of governance to this task, and (iii) utilise the natural self-governing attributes of individuals.

Research Findings/Insights: The form of network structures and governance found in biota provide role models for social organisations to achieve sustainable operating advantages. Unitary boards and/or centralised control of organisations in the private, non-profit or public sectors are inconsistent with furthering self-governance at local, national or global levels. The self-governance of network organisations is empowered by, and facilitates the contrary behaviour of humans to be competitive/cooperative, suspicious/trusting and selfish/altruistic. Contrary attributes in individuals and organisations promote the integrity of their self-governance.

Theoretical/Academic Implications: The natural science of governance provides design criteria for organisational architects. It identifies the need to decompose decision-making labour to within the data processing capacity of humans. This resulting division of decision-making powers with stakeholder engagement provides a requisite variety of communication and control channels to cross check the integrity of governance data. This highlights the need for scholars to consider organisations governed by a number of boards and to consider other non-market governance mechanisms as provided by communities, associations and networks.

Practitioner/Policy Implications: Provide lawmakers, regulators, lawyers, executives, investors and other stakeholders with criteria to improve the operations of organisations while also allowing the size, cost and intrusiveness of government to be reduced.

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Global Governance, Governance Science, Network Governance, Self-Governance

JEL Classification: B49, D71. D73, D74, G34, H11, H77, K23

Suggested Citation

Turnbull, Shann, Design Concepts for Governance Architects (March 19, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Shann Turnbull (Contact Author)

International Institute for Self-Governance ( email )

PO Box 266 Woollahra
Cell: +61418222378
Sydney, New South Wales 1350
+61293278487 (Phone)
+61280655905 (Fax)

SKYPE: shann.turnbull

Sustainable Money Working Group ( email )

Holyoake House
Hanover Street
Manchester, M60 0AS
United Kingdom

New Garden City Alliance ( email )

113 Guinness Court
London, UK, SE1 3TA
United Kingdom
+44 207 378 1902 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics