Challenges In The Supervisory Board Room: An Exploratory Study In The Netherlands

Author: Stefan Peij (IN HOLLAND UNIVERSITY DIEMEN/AMSTERDAM), Pieter-Jan Bezemer (QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY)

 

Track 6 - Behavioural Perspectives On Boards Of Directors (2)

As a consequence of recent corporate governance reforms, the work of supervisory board members in the Dutch two-tier system has become more complex. The objectives of this study are to gain more insight in the current challenges that supervisory board members face and assess whether they are well-equipped to manage them. Based on a combination of an analysis of self-assessment reports, a web-based survey and semi-structured interviews, we conclude that the major challenges of supervisory board members lie in the field of interaction and collaboration with executives. Distinct ‘challenge areas’ were relatively often perceived as problematic as well as important, highlighting the need to improve the current functioning of boards. With regard to the skills that are present on supervisory boards, we find that individual qualities, like integrity, professionalism and knowledge, are better recognized than collective qualities for the supervisory board as a whole. In particular, openness and honesty are seen as important, but often lacking. The paper highlights several implications for scholars and practitioners.

 

Keywords: Directors, Supervisory, Challenges