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Boards are strategic interlocutors for sustainable growth

This study addresses governance practices in (S)ME and show how boards promote sustainable business development.

This study show how board work and board leadership can promote sustainable and innovation-driven business development. It is based on 19 expert interviews and four case studies of four mid-sized enterprises in different industries.

Findings suggest that there is a strong link between value creation, innovation and growth.

While core innovation was driven by management in close connection with operations, the board´s contribution was essentially about aligning and preparing the whole organization for the next level of development i.e., to create the right conditions for sustainable growth. This work of aligning and preparing the organization requires a board that is professional in its work, members who are competent and committed, who have an interest in sharing experience and develop as a team and members who are willing and able to assist management in monitoring the environment outside the firm. The most important prerequisite for innovative and sustainable growth, however, was the rather intense interaction observed among the board, management and owners. This was demonstrable through frequent informal contacts and close cooperation, which were prioritized ahead of a clear division of roles and responsibilities. In other words, the board's function as a strategic interlocutor is significantly more prominent than its function as an independent control body.

The report is available in Swedish for free. English summary included.


Contact: Ingalill.Holmberg@hhs.se