Who's the Boss at the Top? A Micro-Level Analysis of Director Expertise, Status and Conformity Within Boards

Veltrop, D. B., Molleman, E., Hooghiemstra, R. B. H. & van Ees, H. 25-May-2017 In : Journal of Management Studies. 32 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle


  • Who's the Boss at the Top

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In this paper we address how director expertise impacts a director's social status and conformity within the board. Our results, derived from two unique multi-source datasets of peer ratings on director status and conformity of non-executive directors from Dutch organizations, indicate that industry-specific expertise and financial expertise differently impact directors’ social status and influence within the board. We find that directors’ individual performance orientation – the motivation to demonstrate expertise – acts as an important contingency for expertise to increase directors’ status within the board. Additional analyses using archival data and interviews with non-executive directors substantiate our findings and provide additional insight into the dynamics operating within boards. This study extends existing research on boards of directors and provides unique micro-level insights into the boardroom dynamics that connect director expertise to director status and conformity within boards.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Management Studies
StateE-pub ahead of print - 25-May-2017


  • social status, conformity, expertise, individual performance orientation, non-executive directors

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