Center for Ethical Business Cultures

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Working Paper


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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Copyright: This paper is copyrighted by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures.

URL: This paper is posted on the Center for Ethical Business Cultures website at

Citations: This paper may be cited as: Brown, Jill A. 2010. Board and top management changes over the decades: responses to governance and CSR issues. History of Corporate Responsibility Project Working Paper No. #4. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Ethical Business Cultures located at the Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas - Minnesota. (Keyword: Brown)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.