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Board dynamics and decision-making in turbulent times

Hany El Beshlawy, Sinan Ardroumli

Abstract: The board of directors’ role is evolving and becoming more important in the wake of corporate scandals resulting in the collapse of large corporations and losses to shareholders. Poor governance can lead to wrong decision-making, which might destroy organizations, particularly during times of environmental turbulence. The 2008 Global Financial Crises followed by the 2011 Arab Spring throughout the MENA region and then the 2019 pandemic situation are few of many factors that created a turbulent economic and political environment for organizations, highlighting the importance of excellent decision-making skills. However, there is limited research on boards’ decision-making during difficult times in the MENA region. The authors interviewed 26 board members of 21 companies operated under duress to examine the effects on boardroom level decision making of the magnified levels of duress and stress experienced during turbulent times. Key findings from the research include trends in emotional responses in relation to decision-making, changes in the decision-making process after crises, leadership positions, and board behavior. The authors recommend that boards incorporate diversity training and awareness into all levels of their decision-making process and to the board members’ selection process. Future research should expand to different regions and industries and examine the effects of board members’ personal traits and backgrounds on their quality of choices and decision-making
Keywords: decision making / turbulent / board / duress / stress / diversity / behavior / MENA

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