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Six Dysfunctions Everyone Should Understand

Why when companies come crashing down, do we hear of boards who have failed in their fiduciary duties? Or that they have been ignorant, complacent or downright complicit in these scandals and downfalls?


Disaster in the Boardroom shows how boards can be better. Looking at why these scandals happen, my co-author and I, present in-depth case studies of major global corporations – including recent contemporary scandals associated with companies such as BP, Facebook and Uber – to reveal their particularities but also how they can be overcome.


We explore common attributes of scandals such as lack of independence from management, missing key voices, cultural amplification, diffusion of responsibility, rule-bound cultures and groupthink. And we identify ways to strengthen boards, improve their culture and competence, and give directors and others the power to take action and ultimately prevent disasters from happening.


Our book is essential reading for every executive in every boardroom, those aspiring to board positions as well as anyone interested in why boards fail. It has never been more important to pre-identify and eradicate these boardroom dysfunctions – not least so that their impacts upon society can be better seen, understood, mitigated, and avoided.

Randall S Peterson - Disaster in the Boardroom - Book Cover.jpg

Disaster in the Boardroom is now available from any good bookseller.

"Brown and Peterson outline the six dysfunctions preventing boards from doing their jobs. They can be distended, subordinated, imbalanced, bystanders, bureaucratic or conforming. Each dysfunction is explained, explored and then illustrated in what amounts to some splendid storytelling. I read this section - and then I went back and reread it because it's so good. The companies used for illustrative purposes aren't anonymous entities: they're big corporations and names are named. I'm not going to give quotes: you really should read the book to get the full impact. I can promise you won't regret it, particularly if you really want to know what went on at Facebook, Google, Carillion, Uber, BP and RBS. Should the auditors have been more proactive? Well, you can read about The Big Four, too."

The Bookbag

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