Board Members’ Religious Affiliations and Corporate Governance Practice: An Exploratory Study

Rita Goyal, Nada Kakabadse, Andrew Kakabadse

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The deleterious effects of a black-swan event, COVID-19, on companies and their governance are likely to be wide-ranging and unprecedented. To survive a potentially existential crisis that organizations are currently facing and remain sustainable, they may have to look beyond the standard governance models, leadership styles and leaders’ attributes. So far, the usual suspects of effective corporate governance have been the sound principles of management and law. The impact of corporate elites’ religious background on their decision making is seldom explored in the existing literature. However, the Upper Echelon perspective suggests that when faced with uncertain and complex situations, corporate elites turn to their background and experiences. This is done in order to interpret available information and make decisions. This chapter explores if corporate elites’ religious background influences their decision. We conduct the inquiry by interviewing 42 board members of listed companies in the UK. The study's findings suggest that corporate elites' religious beliefs shape their value-sets, decisions, and organizations’ strategic aspirations. The findings are explained with the help of interdisciplinary literature. The study’s contribution to theory, literature, and praxis is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorporate Responsibility and Sustainability during the Coronavirus Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Cases
EditorsA Sörensson, B Tesfaye, A Lundström, G Grigore, A Stancu
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9783030738471
ISBN (Print)9783030738464
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Governance, Leadership and Responsibility
ISSN (Print)2662-1304
ISSN (Electronic)2662-1312

Bibliographical note

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Upper Echelon theory; Religious affiliation of board members; Values of board members; Board diversity; Corporate governance
  • Board diversity
  • Corporate governance
  • Values of board members
  • Religious affiliation of board members
  • Upper Echelon theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management


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