Role of a nonprofit board

Are Powerful CEOs Right for Nonprofit Organizations? Updated & Reissued

Are Powerful CEOs Right for Nonprofit Organizations?

By: Eugene Fram

David Larcker and Brian Tanya, Stanford University Professors, have come to the following conclusions about CEO power and raise some pertinent questions about the role of the board, based on research mainly centered on for-profit organizations.*

The research literature clearly shows that having a powerful CEO creates the potential for him or her to abuse this position to extract personal benefits or engage in excessive risky activities. At the same time, the research also shows that (CE0) power is often critical to the successful completion of tasks and the achievement of corporate objectives (and nonprofit missions). To this end, powerful CEOs can ultimately be a success or a failure. Are shareholders (stakeholders of nonprofits) better or worse off with a powerful CEO?

While it is the role of the board of directors to oversee management, at some point the board must empower management to make decisions. Where should it “draw the line” between giving its CEO discretion and providing appropriate oversight? How much power is too much power?

My Response Related to Nonprofit Organizations:** (more…)