Unpacking Board Culture: How Behavioral Psychology Might Explain What’s Holding Boards Back | PwC

Leadership & Culture

A primary role of a board of directors is to oversee aspects of a firm’s talent management and culture. However, effective boards also evaluate themselves against these criteria regarding their group dynamics and how they determine which topics get discussed, which get ignored, who gets listened to, who is dismissed, and why. This 15-page report highlights four critical bias areas that impact board member interaction and detract from board performance: 1) Authority bias, 2) Groupthink3) Status quo bias, and 4) Confirmation bias. For each of the four areas, suggestions are offered for how boards can spot these issues, and techniques are shared to combat the negative effects. For example, one sign of authority bias is when the board regularly defers to the views of the authority figure—either as a subject matter expert or because of their board leadership role. One tactic to combat this issue is to have board leadership or an expert purposely withhold opinions until the end of the discussion. While this report is written through the lens of the board of directors, the insights are helpful for spotting and addressing similar biases that negatively impact team dynamics in general.

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