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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Opening the 'black box': what does observational research reveal about processes and practices of governing?
Author(s): Watson, Cate
Husband, Gary
Ireland, Aileen
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Keywords: Control-collaboration paradox
effective governance
good governance
processual research
symbolic governance
Issue Date: 21-Feb-2020
Citation: Watson C, Husband G & Ireland A (2020) Opening the 'black box': what does observational research reveal about processes and practices of governing?. Journal of Management and Governance.
Abstract: Despite several decades of research on governance, very little is known about processes and practices of governing and, crucially, the links between governing and organisational performance. This has led to calls to penetrate the ‘black box’ of the boardroom by conducting research which draws on data gathered through direct observation. Such calls, however, have so far produced a rather sparse and inchoate literature which would benefit from review in order to give shape to the field and provide direction for future research. Here, we critically examine the findings of this research, in particular focusing on three emergent themes: (1) the extent to which empirical research supports the established theories in the field, particularly agency and stewardship theories; (2) what research says about ‘good’ and ‘effective’ governance and the relationship between them; and (3) the methodological and conceptual orientations which frame this research, in particular the claims made for ‘processual’ approaches. We conclude with an agenda for taking the field forward in order to extend knowledge and to contribute to theory around governing.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s10997-020-09503-3
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
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