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Garry Bruton

Research Findings

Nonprofit interlocks on corporate boards: Corporate board members on the boards of nonprofit organizations

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June 13, 2019

No one likes to be told what to do, but it happens all the time—even to some of the most powerful people. When powerful people have to comply, what does that mean for the organizations they influence?

We all know what it feels like to be coerced into doing something that makes us uncomfortable. As you consider examples of this, you may go to the extreme and think of a scenario where someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do something that you never would do otherwise. While a gun to the head is, luckily, very unlikely, there are many settings where we might see forced compliance in our day to day world – including both business and philanthropic settings.

We see this, for example, when watchdog groups or other outside stakeholders (for example, regulatory agencies) mandate certain rules and actions even when the organizational members themselves consider the mandate to be detrimental to their stakeholders. Our motivation for this study was in exploring the performance impact of forced compliance on boardroom actions in corporate and non-profit settings.

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