Journal of Management and Governance

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 227–258 | Cite as

Leader character in board governance

  • Gerard SeijtsEmail author
  • Alyson Byrne
  • Mary M. Crossan
  • Jeffrey Gandz


Despite the critical leadership role that corporate boards play in organizations, the character of their members has been neglected in research studies. We used a multi-method data collection approach to explore whether current directors in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors believe that leader character plays an important role in board governance, particularly with regards to how boards make decisions, recruit new members, lead their organizations, and work together to perform their fiduciary and other responsibilities. Despite the perceived importance of leader character as reported by highly experienced corporate directors, we found that leader character is not commonly attended to in board conversations as a means to purposively improve the way boards operate. We outline practical implications of our findings as well as offer a call to action for future research on character in the context of board governance with the intent to improve governance in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors and hence to foster sustained excellence in organizations.


Leadership Character Boards Board effectiveness Board governance 



This study was funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (File: 435-2013-1889) awarded to the first, third and fourth authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerard Seijts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alyson Byrne
    • 2
  • Mary M. Crossan
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Gandz
    • 1
  1. 1.Western UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.Memorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada

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