Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How Mindful Directors Make Sense of Boardroom Interactions
by Ticha, Samuel, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2020, 228; 27833476
Abstract (Summary)

Using the sensemaking theory as a guide, this exploratory, qualitative study examines “How Mindful Directors make sense of boardroom interactions.” Very few studies have looked at how directors view their experience on boards of directors, and research examining how directors make sense of their interactions on the board could not be found. Without understanding how directors view their boardroom interactions, we are left with making unwarranted assumptions about what transpires on boards. Sensemaking is a process of dealing with complex interactions between the self and others as well as between the self and the organizational system. Mindful Directors were chosen as the primary participants in the study. After this initial focus on Mindful Directors, directors who do not practice mindfulness were included as a comparison group. A total of 43 directors were interviewed for this study. Twenty-eight of those interviewed were Mindful Directors, and fifteen of those interviewed did not perceive themselves as mindful (Other Directors). A main finding indicates that Mindful Directors make sense of boardroom interactions through an overarching people orientation or prioritizing who needs to be heard over what needs to be done. The people orientation stems from an unconditional love for people, or a loveful mindset. In contrast, Other Directors make sense of boardroom interactions through an overarching action orientation or prioritizing what needs to be done over who needs to be heard. The action orientation stems from the perceived obligation to maximize shareholder value. The research illustrated that both director groups could learn from each other. Other Directors could learn about listening with less personal bias from Mindful Directors, and Mindful Directors could learn about speeding up the decision-making process in times of crisis from Other Directors. Similarities between both director groups include using decision-making frameworks, non-dichotomous thinking, and an overwhelming focus on opportunities rather than being caught up in setbacks.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kaminstein, Dana S.
Commitee: Wiens, Kandi, Lajoux, Alexandra R.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Social psychology, Entrepreneurship, Personality psychology, Behavioral psychology
Keywords: Action orientation, Decision making, Directors (board members), Mindful boardroom interactions, People orientation, Sensemaking
Publication Number: 27833476
ISBN: 9798662380288
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