Bringing owners back on board: A review of the role of ownership type in board governance

Ryan Federo, Yuliya Ponomareva, Ruth V. Aguilera, Angel Saz-Carranza, Carlos Losada

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Research Question/Issue: In this comprehensive literature review, we synthesize and analyze the current state of academic research regarding the relatively understudied relationship between the type of owners and board governance. Research Findings/Insights: Our review of the existing literature at the intersection of ownership and board governance research discusses how six distinct ownership types—pertaining to family, lone founder, corporation, institutional investor, state, and venture capitalist—shape board governance, defined as board structure, composition, and processes. We also uncover the influence of ownership type on board functional performance (i.e., monitoring, resource provision, and strategic involvement) and the implications of these owner–board relationships for a variety of firm outcomes (related to performance and compliance). Theoretical/Academic Implications: We present identifiable patterns in board governance and functional performance associated with each ownership type and their respective implications for a wide range of firm outcomes. We then propose seven core emerging themes that deserve further scholarly attention. Practitioner/Policy Implications: Our analysis cautions against the application of the “one-size-fits-all” best-practices approach in board governance advocated by policy makers, scholars, and corporate governance activists and underscores the need to consider the contingent effects of different owners' behaviors and interests in shaping and assessing board governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-371
Number of pages24
JournalCorporate Governance: An International Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Corporate governance
  • board of directors
  • literature review
  • ownership


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