Center for Ethical Business Cultures
Date of this version
corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, governance, boards of directors, management, stakeholders and ethics
This paper is a broad review of how boards of directors and top management teams have made changes over the decades in response to corporate social responsibility pressures and expectations. These changes have taken place in several areas: 1) in the organization, composition and structure of these groups, 2) in changing reporting relationships between the management, the board, and other stakeholders, and 3) in various initiatives that facilitate the interaction of internal and external stakeholders. I conclude that while over the decades boards have developed infrastructures to actively embrace their responsibilities to their stakeholders, they are still challenged with managing their relationships with the CEO and the top management team through cycles of social, economic and political turbulence. Board members react differently than management to the pressures of performance, and inevitably the monitoring portion of the directors’ duties gets lost in the fray. Additionally, an examination of board/TMT changes shows the possibility of a temporal pattern of reaction to governance and CSR pressures, as boards and TMTs change first composition and then structure before addressing their relationships. I begin with a review of board level changes over the decades, and then proceed to the executive level.
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