Boardroom leadership: The board of directors as a source of strategic leadership

  • 1 Universidad San Pablo de Guatemala, , Guatemala
  • 2 Fort Hays State University,


The aim of this paper is to bring together some of the foundational and recent literature interlinking corporate governance and the leadership role of the board of directors. Strategic leadership is widely assumed to be a responsibility that defaults to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). However, in practice, what most CEOs do is strategic management rather than strategic leadership. While strategic management does share key aspects of strategic leadership CEOs are expected to prioritize the managerial side over the leadership side. This is just one of the situations in which the board-room assumes the leadership role. This paper discusses how boards of directors conduct the process of strategic leadership in their organizations. In recent years there has been an increasing interest among scholars to understand how boards strategize from a behavioral point of view. This growing interest has resulted in the development of various typologies regarding boards’ involvement in the strategic leadership processes.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Aguilera, R. V., Judge, W. Q., & Terjesen, S. A. (2018). Corporate governance deviance. Academy of Management Review, 43(1), 87-109.

  • Atkinson, A., Kochetova-Kozloski, N., & Webb, R. (2012, January 14). Strategic performance information and Canadian board involvement in strategy related issues: A field study. (CAAA Annual Conference 2012 Proceedings).

  • Atwal, N., Butler, M., Mattoo, D., & Wood, M. (2019). Can there be a universal framework of good governance?. Governing Higher Education Today: International Perspectives, 140-147.

  • Babelyte-Labanauske, K., & Kriauciunas, A. (2018, July). Edith Penrose and Jeffrey Pfeffer and Gerald J. Salancik: Is there room for complementarity?. (Academy of Management Proceedings No. 1, p. 15702). Briarcliff Manor, NY: Academy of Management.

  • Bailey, B., & Peck, S. (2013). Boardroom strategic decision-making style: Understanding the antecedents. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 21(2), 131-146.

  • Bainbridge, S. (2015). The board of directors. In J. Gordon, & W. Ringe (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of corporate law and governance. Oxford: Oxford Handbooks Online.

  • Banzato, C., & Volpp, J. (2016). Implications of theory and research on strategic leadership. A critical review. Revista Ibero-Americana de Estrategia, 15(3), 119-131.

  • Black, B., De Carvalho, A. G., Khanna, V. S., Kim, W.,& Yurtoglu, B. B. (2018). Which aspects of corporate governance matter in emerging markets: Evidence from Brazil, India, Korea and Turkey. Northwestern Law and Econ Research Paper, 14-22.

  • BOE. (2010). Real Decreto Legislativo 1/2010. Ley de Sociedades de Capital. España. Retrieved from:

  • BOE. (2014). Ley 31/2014. Modificaciones a la Ley de Sociedades. España. Retrieved from:

  • Booth-Bell, D. (2018). Social capital as a new board diversity rationale for enhanced corporate governance. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 18(3), 425-439.

  • Brauer, M., & Schmidt, S. (2008). Defining the role of boards and measuring their effectiveness. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 8(5), 649-660.

  • Covin, J. G., & Slevin, D. P. (2017). The entrepreneurial imperatives of strategic leadership. In M. A. Hitt, R. D. Ireland, S. M. Camp, & D. L. Sexton (Eds.), Strategic entrepreneurship: Creating a new mindset (pp. 307-327). Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Daily, C., McDougall, P., Covin, J., & Dalton, D. (2002). Governance and strategic leadership in entrepreneurial firms. Journal of Management, 28(3), 387-412.

  • Demirag, I. (Ed.). (2018). Corporate social responsibility, accountability and governance: Global perspectives. New York: Routledge.

  • Dimopoulos, T., & Wagner, H. F. (2016). Corporate governance and CEO turnover decisions. Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper, 1, 12-16.

  • Du Plessis, J. J., Hargovan, A., & Harris, J. (2018). Principles of contemporary corporate governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Evans, G. L. (2014). A mega review of cultural studies: Linking leadership to corporate governance. The Poznan University of Economics Review, 14(1), 76.

  • Evans, G., & Letza, S. (2017). Introduction to the special issue on corporate governance. Economics and Business Review, 3(1), 2-6.

  • Ferguson, C. S. (2019). Assessing the KING IV Corporate Governance Report in relation to business continuity and resilience. Journal of Business Continuity and Emergency Planning, 13(2), 174-185.

  • Ferkins, L., Shilbury, D., & McDonald, G. (2005). The role of the board in building strategic capability: Towards an integrated model of sport governance research. Sport Management Review, 8(3), 195-225. Retrieved from

  • Garg, S., & Eisenhardt, K. M. (2017). Unpacking the CEO-board relationship: How strategy making happens in entrepreneurial firms. Academy of Management Journal, 60(5), 1828-1858.

  • Hendry, K., Kiel, G., & Nicholson, G. (2009). How boards strategize: A strategy as practice view. Long Range Planning, 43(1), 33-56. Retrieved from

  • Heracleous, L. (1999). The board of directors as leaders of the organization. Corporate Governance. An International Review, 7(3), 28-39. Retrieved from

  • Hillman, A. J., Withers, M. C., & Collins, B. J. (2009). Resource dependence theory: A review. Journal of Management, 35(6), 1404-1427.

  • Hopt, K. J. (2019). Comparative company law 2018. European Corporate Governance Institute-Law Working Paper, (460), 1-75.

  • Ingley, C., & Van der Walt, N. (2001). The strategic board: The changing role of directors in developing and maintaining corporate capability. Corporate Governance, 9(3), 15-23.

  • Institute of Directors. (2001). The company director’s guide. London: England.

  • Institute of Directors. (2016). King report on corporate governance for South Africa. Johannesburg: IOD.

  • Knapp, M. (2018). What we can learn from corporate governance. In M. Knapp (Ed.), Enterprise portfolio governance (pp. 111-140). Singapore: Springer.

  • Lussier, R., & Achua, C. (2010). Leadership, theory, applications and skill development (4th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western.

  • Malewska, K., & Sajdak, M. (2014) The intuitive manager and the concept of strategic leadership. Management, 18(2), 44-58.

  • Manna, A., Sahu, T. N., & Gupta, A. (2019). Governance-led corporate performance: Theory and practice. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.

  • McCahery, J. A., Sautner, Z., & Starks, L. T. (2016). Behind the scenes: The corporate governance preferences of institutional investors. The Journal of Finance, 71(6), 2905-2932.

  • Memili, E., Fang, H. C., & Butner, H. (2017). Women family member involvement in corporate governance: A longitudinal study of publicly-traded family firms. (United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Conference Proceedings, p. 937). United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

  • Moloi, T., & Adelowotan, M. (2019). Corporate governance principles and practices disclosed in the South African technical vocational education and training colleges’ annual reports. Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 22(3), 1-15.

  • OECD. (2015). G20/OECD principles of corporate governance. Paris: OECD Publishing.

  • Omar, O. A., Sell, D., & Rover, A. J. (2017, September). The information asymmetry aspect of agency theory in business compliance contexts: A systematic review. (Congresso Internacional de Conhecimento e Inovação–Ciki No. 1, 8-21).

  • Panda, B., and Leepsa, N. M. (2017). Agency theory: Review of theory and evidence on problems and perspectives. Indian Journal of Corporate Governance, 10(1), 74-95.

  • Pfeffer, J., and Salancik, G. R. (1977). Organizational context and the characteristics and tenure of hospital administrators. Academy of Management Journal, 20(1), 74-88.

  • Pitelis, C. N., and Wagner, J. D. (2019). Strategic shared leadership and organizational dynamic capabilities. The Leadership Quarterly, 30(2), 233-242.

  • Pugliese, A., Bezemer, P. J., Zattoni, A., Huse, M., Van den Bosch, F. A, & Volberda, H. W. (2009). Boards of directors’ contribution to strategy: A literature review and research agenda. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 17(3), 292-306.

  • Quong, T., & Walker, A. (2010). Seven principles of strategic leadership. ISEA, 38(1), 22-34. Retrieved from

  • Ravasi, D., & Zattoni, A. (2006). Exploring the political side of board involvement in strategy: A study of mixed-ownership institutions. Journal of Management Studies, 43(8), 1671-1702.

  • Rojas, C. R. (2017). Eclipse of the public corporation revisited: Concentrated equity ownership theory. Retrieved from

  • Roy, M. C., Roy, M. J., & Bouchard, L. (2017). Improving board knowledge with information and communication technologies. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 15(4), 215-224.

  • Ruigrok, W., Peck, S., & Keller H. (2006). Board characteristics and involvement in strategic decision making: Evidence from Swiss companies. Journal of Management Studies, 43(5), 1201-1226.

  • Shaukat, A., Qiu, Y., & Trojanowski, G. (2016). Board attributes, corporate social responsibility strategy, and corporate environmental and social performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 135(3), 569-585.

  • Shi, W., Connelly, B. L., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2017). External corporate governance and financial fraud: Cognitive evaluation theory insights on agency theory prescriptions. Strategic Management Journal, 38(6), 1268-1286.

  • SIB. (2016). Resolución JM-62-2016. Reglamento de Gobierno Corporativo. Guatemala. Retrieved from

  • Subramanian, S. (2018). Stewardship theory of corporate governance and value system: The case of a family-owned business group in India. Indian Journal of Corporate Governance, 11(1), 88-102.

  • United States Army War College. (2010). Strategic leadership primer (3rd ed.). Carlisle, PA: Author. Retrieved from

  • Veldman, J., & Willmott, H. (2016). The cultural grammar of governance: The UK code of corporate governance, reflexivity, and the limits of ‘soft’ regulation. Human Relations, 69(3), 581-603.

  • Vera, D., & Crossan, M. (2004). Strategic leadership and organizational learning. Academy of Management Review, 29(2), 222-240.

  • Wesley, C., & Plaskoff, J. (2017). The reintroduction of Jewish covenantal theory as a form of corporate governance. (Academy of Management Proceedings No. 1, p. 16423). Briarcliff Manor, NY: Academy of Management.

  • Yukl, G. (2013). Leadership in Organizations (8th ed). Boston, MA: Pearson.


Journal + Issues