University of Queensland Emeritus Professor Geoff Kiel gave a great speech at the Australian Institute of Management at Spring Hill, Brisbane on Thursday night, launching the new book Directors at Work, which he co-authored with three of his colleagues (one of whom is my mother). In a wide-ranging speech, Geoff made it clear why board directors need a practical guide to doing their job, noting that even directors’ jottings on board papers can cause trouble for them, as Lachlan Murdoch might attest after his experience with the OneTel inquiry.
One of the novel features of the book is it emphasis on board behavioural dynamics (i.e. how the board members interact with each other), and it contains a useful overview of the different personality types of directors (e.g. dominant versus subservient directors) and discusses how boards can attempt to limit dysfunctional behaviours.
Good governance of corporations is very important for company performance, as a 2009 Treasury working paper cited in Directors at Work makes clear:
Hence Directors at Work, as a practical guide to how boards can govern their companies better, can hopefully make an important contribution to improving the performance of companies worldwide.