Are boards designed to fail? The implausibility of effective board monitoring

Ruth Aguilera Vaqués, Joel L. Andrus, Michael K. Bednar, Steven Boivie

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)


In this review, we challenge the idea that directors are well positioned to be effective monitors of management. Moving beyond the logic of incentives and ability, we conceptualize a model based on the premise of boards as groups of individuals obtaining, processing and sharing information and explain how variation in information-processing demands at the director, board and firm level may challenge effective monitoring. We draw on multiple theoretical perspectives to identify these barriers to effective board monitoring. Our goal in reviewing these barriers is to help us take stock of existing research in corporate governance and to better explain board behavior beyond traditional agency and resource dependency accounts. We also aim to uncover gaps in the conceptual and empirical research and suggest areas of fruitful future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-407
JournalThe Academy of Management Annals
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Cite this