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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Corporate Governance and the Effectiveness of Boards

What do boards do? What factors influence what they do and how they do it? How do they perform and contribute to the overall performance of the company they represent? In this summer school we answer these questions taking a multi-disciplinary approach using insights from economics, finance, management and sociology and psychology.

Understanding how corporate boards are formed and how they act has become an important topic. Corporate failures and scandals such as Enron and Parmalat in the early 2000s and, more recently Volkswagen and Toshiba, have heated up debates among investors, policy makers, media, academics and the wider public, with respect to the role of boards in these scandals. Simultaneously, boards have to deal with newer questions and norms, which wider emerging environmental, social and governance concerns. In general, boards play a key role within organizations and the economic system in general.

Research on boards focuses on examining how boards themselves influence firm strategic decisions and outcomes. Traditionally, this research focuses on linking board and/or individual characteristics to measures of firm decision-making and performance. More recently, researchers have begun to focus on contextualizing the role of boards in determining firm decisions and outcomes. Various contextual variables such as formal (laws, regulations, quality of government) and informal institutions (culture, values, trust) have been considered as determinants of the way boards are characterized and formed, what their roles are, how their members act and decide and what the consequences are.

At the same time, part of the research on boards has been directed toward researching cognitive and behavioral aspects of teams’ and boards’ decision-making processes. Studies in this field aim at opening the so-called “black box” to find out how interactions between individual team and board members affect decision making, team and board effectiveness and, ultimately, also organizational performance. Among other things, this research focuses on analyzing the importance of behavioral and cognitive aspects such as trust, conflict and conflict management, commitment, information sharing, reflexivity, etc. on team and organizational performance.

Aim of the summer school

The aim of this summer school is to discuss the strength and weaknesses of both research pillars and their contribution to our understanding of how boards are formed and how they work in order to effectively perform their roles. We explicitly aim to determine to what extent their questions, methods, data, and outcomes are complementary or substitutes. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, meaning that we discuss research from economics, finance, management and sociology and psychology. We will also deal with measurement issues and discuss datasets and methodologies to use these datasets in research. Participants are invited to present their own research (ideas) in the field of board effectiveness.

Practical information
Dates & location
10 - 14 July 2023, Groningen, the Netherlands
ReMa, PhDs, Postdocs, academic staff members
and practitioners with relevant academic background
Fee (tbc)

Early bird discount

€ 650
Limited number of financial support available

€ 625 for applications before 1 April


Financial support (by waiving the participation fee) is available for a limited number of participants and is subsidized by the Institute for Governance and Organizational Responsibility at the University of Groningen. In case you want to be eligible for this financial support, please send an email to in order to receive more information on this issue. Please be aware, submission of a research proposal and/or a research paper is mandatory to qualify for financial support.  We select students for financial support based on the quality of their research proposal and/or research paper.

Academic coordinators
Niels Hermes, Faculty of Economics and Business
Reggy Hooghiemstra
Kees van Veen

This course is designed for ReMa, PhDs, Postdocs, academic staff members and practitioners with relevant academic background. Participants are expected to have a solid background in business, economics or management studies (at least at the Bachelor level).

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

group at work 2018
group at work 2018
Teaching staff

This summer school brings the participants to the frontiers of knowledge about boards, board dynamics in a variety of corporate governance contexts. Each of the teaching staff members has an impressive track record on the topics discussed. This includes high ranking international academics who specifically join this summer school to share their latest insights with the audience (such as Prof. Craig Crossland, Notre Dame university, USA, and Prof. Alessandro Zattoni, Luis Business School, Italy), and experienced practitioners who share their latest observations. Overall, the summer school has a rather strong research orientation. However, earlier participants with other background – proxy advisors, ESG specialists, investors - found the summer school very useful as well and are welcome to apply.


Topics will include:

  • Introduction to corporate governance and agency theory
  • Executive compensation
  • Board composition and dynamics
  • Board leadership
  • Ownership structure and the role of shareholders
  • Data and methods in corporate governance research: Dealing with endogeneity
  • Comparative corporate governance
  • Business elites and top management teams
  • Corporate governance research: Using survey data
  • Recent trends in corporate governance research
  • Presentations of research proposals and papers
Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this summer school you will be able to:

  • define and describe the basic elements of a corporate governance system;
  • critically assess theories applied in the field of corporate governance;
  • explain and discuss the major research approaches in the field of corporate governance;
  • describe recent trends and topics in research on corporate governance;
  • present, discuss and critically evaluate a paper published in a scientific journal; and
  • write and present their own research proposal and/or a research paper.

The workload is estimated at 40 hours (five days from 9-5 with lectures, workshops, assignments and (paper) presentations).
Participants who attend all sessions and who present a research proposal or paper on Friday will receive a certificate of participation signed by the coordinators of the summer school. Upon request the certificate can mention the workload of 40 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Application procedure

To apply, kindly fill out the online application form, which will open in December 2022.

  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Motivation letter, clearly stating why you want to join this summer school, what you will bring to the school and what you hope to learn (max. 1 page)
  • Research Master students, PhDs and academic staff are requested to submit a paper or potential research proposal related to the topic of the summer school.

The first selection will take place after 1 April (early bird deadline). The final deadline for application is 1 June 2023.

Research proposal and papers

During the summer school Corporate Governance and the Effectiveness of Boards participants present and discuss their own research on corporate governance. Presentations and discussions will be integrated in the program, that is, the research of participants will be discussed in one of the sessions by lecturers. We make sure that the research of participants is matched with one of the topic(s) discussed during one of the sessions taught by our lecturers.

When applying for the summer school, we ask participants to hand in a research proposal or paper on a topic in corporate governance. This may be a preliminary version of a proposal or paper. Participants may hand in a revised version of their proposal or paper up to two weeks before the start of the summer school. Revised versions can be submitted by email to Niels Hermes (

The research proposal should consist of the following elements:

  • Introduction: describes the main research question(s), why this is relevant from an academic and/or practical perspective, what is new in the research (as compared to what we already know in the literature), and a short summary of how the research question will be answered;
  • Literature review: describes the theories and concepts known in the literature based on which the research will be conducted; in this part, hypotheses can be discussed, but make sure that these hypotheses are linked to the theories and concepts you discuss
  • Research methods and data: describes the type of methodology or methodologies that will be used to answer the research question(s) and test the hypotheses; also describes the type of data that will be used; if the paper is theoretical or conceptual, this section does not have to be included.
  • List of references: make sure the list of references is in alphabetical order
  • Data appendix (if applicable): provides an overview of the data to be used and/or tables and figures that support the content of the research proposal.

There is no specific requirement with respect to the total word amount for the research proposal. However, we suggest you use not more than 5,000 words (excluding references and data appendix).

As mentioned, you may also hand in a full paper, for example, a chapter of your PhD thesis, or an article you have working on recently.

For further questions or suggestions, please email Niels Hermes (

Participant evaluations

  • ‘A wonderful experience’
  • ‘All the lectures have rich content. The …content is great and intensive’
  • ‘I really like the informal atmosphere and the inspiring talks. Connecting with the professors is a great opportunity’.
Last modified:23 May 2023 9.22 p.m.