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The power and peril of board interlocks
journal contributionposted on 2022-10-24, 01:21 authored by Brian ConnellyBrian Connelly, E J Van Slyke
In order to compete, firms must constantly gather and assess information that will help them identify and evaluate emerging opportunities. Their social context is instrumental in determining what information they have to work with and how they might make sense of and act upon that information. Unfortunately, many firms allow themselves to become under-connected, which isolates them from new sources of information, or over-reliant on just a few connections, creating a bottleneck for the flow of information. Herein, we describe how these problems manifest themselves among the network of interlocked directors, which is created when directors of firms sit on multiple boards. This network is so vast and complex that fully understanding the position and structure of a given firm's board interlocks remains elusive. Toward solving this problem, we offer five keys to developing a board with effective interlocks, as well as three cautions regarding how board interlocks could potentially hurt firms. © 2012 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University.