Who's the Boss at the Top? A Micro‐Level Analysis of Director Expertise, Status and Conformity within Boards

32 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2017

See all articles by Dennis Veltrop

Dennis Veltrop

De Nederlandsche Bank; University of Groningen

Eric Molleman

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business

Hans van Ees

University of Groningen

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

In this paper we address how director expertise impacts a director's social status and conformity within the board. Our results, derived from two unique multi‐source datasets of peer ratings on director status and conformity of non‐executive directors from Dutch organizations, indicate that industry‐specific expertise and financial expertise differently impact directors’ social status and influence within the board. We find that directors’ individual performance orientation – the motivation to demonstrate expertise – acts as an important contingency for expertise to increase directors’ status within the board. Additional analyses using archival data and interviews with non‐executive directors substantiate our findings and provide additional insight into the dynamics operating within boards. This study extends existing research on boards of directors and provides unique micro‐level insights into the boardroom dynamics that connect director expertise to director status and conformity within boards.

Keywords: conformity, expertise, individual performance orientation, non‐executive directors, social status

Suggested Citation

Veltrop, Dennis and Molleman, Eric and van Ees, Hans, Who's the Boss at the Top? A Micro‐Level Analysis of Director Expertise, Status and Conformity within Boards (November 2017). Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 7, pp. 1079-1110, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048582 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joms.12276

Dennis Veltrop (Contact Author)

De Nederlandsche Bank ( email )

PO Box 98
1000 AB Amsterdam
Amsterdam, 1000 AB
Netherlands

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

Eric Molleman

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands
+ 31 (0)50 363 3846 (Phone)
+ 31 (0)50 363 2032 (Fax)

Hans Van Ees

University of Groningen ( email )

Department of Economics
P.O.Box 800
9700 AH Groningen
Netherlands

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