I am aware of only two
research studies involving Policy Governance. They are both
unpublished. I have read one of them which compared board
effectiveness among boards that had Policy Governance training, boards
that had traditional board training, and boards that had no training.
Boards with Policy Governance training were just as effective as those
boards that used traditional training, but they both were more effective
than boards with no training. There was also a correlation between
the extent of a board's adoption of Policy Governance concepts and
practices and board perceived effectiveness as well as CEO satisfaction.
One of the difficulties in
comparing Policy Governance to other governance approaches is that Policy
Governance changes all the measurements of performance. Ends rarely
exist in other approaches, and limitations turn most other performance
measures upside down. For instance, instead of measuring the effect of
a governance approach on improving financial performance, Policy Governance
would measure the avoidance of poor financial performance.
difference in measurement, any research that used traditional performance
measures would not show much difference between Policy Governance and
traditional governance approaches. Policy Governance makes no promise
that an organization will perform better on traditional measures, but Policy
Governance does promise that there will be fewer failures.
The underlying assumptions
of the person designing the research will have an effect on the results
simply by the measures that are selected. It will be difficult to
create a new way of measuring board performance that runs counter to what is
used in most of the published research on boards. It is going to take
people that have a solid understanding of Policy Governance and research
design. This doesn't suggest that research can't be done, just that it
needs to be carefully crafted.
Lynn A. Walker, Ph.D.
Boundary Management Consulting
12411 McKelvey Road
St. Louis MO 63146-2929
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