Power Shift, Strategic Changes and Board Roles in SMEs: A Portfolio Approach
Ingley, C; Ingley, C; Khlif, W
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This paper aims to better understand board task performance according to firms' and their boards' need to change and adapt with the firms' changing strategic circumstances. Results from case studies of six Tunisian SMEs revealed a range of board functions grouped according to four typical board governance roles of control, strategy, service and mediation. The types of board involvement in firm decision making ranged from a passive board classified as a "legal fiction" to a fully active "pilot" board type depending on the relationship between the board and the CEO/founder and the firm's circumstances. SME governance under was found to encompass simultaneously all four board roles (which we term a "portfolio" of board roles) but emphasis was placed by boards on one or two key roles according to the changing strategic demands of the firm. This finding gives initial support to the board role portfolio concept as justification for boards in SMEs. It also has practical implications for how boards can best add strategic value to their firms when transitioning through challenges of transformational change in their development over time.