In this study, we examine and compare formal board structures and actual board behaviour in privately held SMEs. We integrate and build on ideas from institutional theory and the behavioural theory of the firm to propose that privately held firms have specific governance needs that 'decouple' formal board structures from actual board behaviour. Following this logic, we expect board structures to vary across countries while board behaviour does not. We test this in a cross-country sample of SMEs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. The empirical results support the proposition that board structures are largely decoupled from actual board behaviour in privately held SMEs. Overall, the findings imply that it is possible to coordinate and disseminate board development research and practice across countries despite national differences in formal board structures.
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics|
|Early online date||18 Dec 2014|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Dec 2014|