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Role of Boards

Role of Boards
Building Sustainable Competitive Edge

  • Pritam Singh - former Director of IIM Lucknow, MDI Gurgaon and IMI Delhi
  • Asha Bhandarker - Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behaviour, IMI Delhi
  • Subir Verma - Professor of OB & HR, FORE School of Management, New Delhi

April 2021 | 304 pages | SAGE Response
The book is a compelling inquiry into a topic which impacts all companies but stays shrouded in mystery of what ails boards and how they can add value.

The Role of Boards explores the issues and challenges that afflict Indian boards, unravels the array of key strategic weapons for winning the corporate war and proposes action steps for architecting a sustainable competitive edge. Packed with signposts, strategic checklist and principles to guide management and organizations towards sustainable corporate excellence and national development, the book is the new boardroom bible in the emerging post-pandemic and technologically disruptive world. It starts with an examination of the ground realities of Indian organizations and the way in which selfishness, scams and scandals are destroying value, hurting stock markets, increasing the gap between the rich and poor and reducing trust. It then conceptually studies the role of various pillars which can be leveraged for building sustainable competitive edge in organizations: continuous innovation, customer centricity, cost and quality leadership, speed to the market, agility, organizational ambidexterity, people power, ethical governance and strategic leadership. To enhance boardroom governance, the book advocates path breaking recommendations especially in terms of its composition, competence, agenda, decision-making and attention to strategic matters apart from the traditional focus on conformance and compliance. The book is unique in its study of Indian boards from the behavioural point of view. It is the first-of-kind to have used the actor approach to examine the nuances and facets of boardroom realities in India and makes recommendations from that vantage point. The book is contextual, rooted in Indian realities, futuristic and recommendatory for enabling corporate India to contribute to the ambitious national endeavour of Atmanirbharta—self-reliant and self-sufficient India.
Foreword by M. Damodaran
Landscape of Corporate Governance: Issues and Challenges
Architecting Sustainable Competitive Edge: Role of Boards
Contours of Boardroom Functioning and Sustainable Competitive Advantage
Towards Value-adding Boards: Recommendations
Effective Boardroom Governance: Recommendations

This book is one of the most outstanding works and a commendably successful attempt in exploring and providing deep insights into the functioning of corporate boards in the Indian context. It carries the clear imprint of the great thought leader and management guru, Dr Pritam Singh, in saying what needs to be said and in suggesting what is needed to make India reach the top. The book rightly recognizes that most of the Indian companies suboptimize their potential due to their short-sighted approach for quick gains, rather than taking a long-term view for attaining sustainable growth. It is a must-read for all corporate leaders, board members and students of commerce and business.

R. V. Shahi
Former Power Secretary, Government of India

Boards have a key role to play in steering organizations towards a sustainable future by adopting sound ethical governance and financial management policies. Their role assumes more significance at this watershed moment of global disruption and potential change in the world order. The book by Dr Pritam Singh, Asha Bhandarker and Dr Subir Verma has been timely and is about organizational competitiveness and the key roles that boards can play to make Indian organizations more sustainable and competitive. It adopts a unique approach of examining boardroom functioning from the lens of organizational performance. One rarely comes across such a comprehensive account on behavioural approach to boardroom governance.

The book is a monumental exercise and the amount of empirical work involved in gathering views and experiences of board members is impressive. It is a good read and is recommended for its excellent coverage, thorough research and rich insights on the subject. I am sure that it will be of use to not only boards and top teams but also corporate India to meet the objective of building organizational resilience and sustainability.

Mallikarjuna Rao
MD, Punjab National Bank

This book truly has a profound meaning for shaping an Atmanirbhar Bharat when the Indian economy will grow towards becoming the third largest economy of the world, with good governance in the management as well as the boards of all the companies. With his deep experience, Dr Pritam Singh has brought many key learnings and insights for all managers and directors to inculcate these best practices in their day-to-day working. I’m sure that the book will significantly lift governance quality in India and have a positive impact on business success in the future.

Manoj Kohli
Country Head, Softbank India, Softbank Group International

I read the book Role of Boards: Building Sustainable Competitive Edge with great interest. In the current context, it is very relevant and highlights the role of the board in the development and future of a corporate entity. The authors did an excellent job in bringing out the role of the board. I personally feel that this book should not only be an integral part of an MBA programme but also should be read by all board members and all those who aspire to join the board. It is full of practical examples and personal experiences. I would like to congratulate the authors for this excellent contribution.

Jyoti Gupta
Professor Emeritus, ESCP Business School, Paris, France

Corporate governance and the role of boards are often the object of heated debates most of the time as a result of wrongdoings or strategic mistakes that the boards were unable to manage. This book authored by Dr Pritam Singh and team not only frames the key issues but, most importantly, offers practical and tangible ways to make the role of boards much more effective in steering the strategy of an organization to build a sustainable competitive edge. Even though most of the research is based on evidence from India, I believe that the recommendations are truly boundaryless. The book is a must-read for not only current board members but also for everyone who will be playing leadership roles in organizations as well as students of management and commerce.

Davide Sola
Professor of Strategy and Management, ESCP Business School, London

The book, Role of Boards: Building Sustainable Competitive Edge is an outstanding work of immense importance to understanding the effectiveness of corporate governance and institutional sustainability. The issues of ethics, sustainability and governance, which are at the heart of the functioning of corporate boards, have been examined in this outstanding book in the most comprehensive and compelling manner. The authors, Dr Pritam Singh, Dr Asha Bhandarker and Dr Subir Verma, have provided a passionate tour de force on the future of corporate boards and how they can be made more ethical, effective, competitive and indeed sustainable. This work has to be made compulsory reading for all students of management but more importantly, it is a valuable work for everybody who is working and leading in all organizations and institutions. Congratulations to the authors for producing a fantastic book that will have a longer shelf life for what it has examined and enunciated in a thorough and threadbare manner.

Professor (Dr) C. Raj Kumar
Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University

This unique book has amply demonstrated that effective governance is the lifeline of any organization to outcompete and increase their longevity. Dr Singh’s vast and diverse experience in the arena of leadership and boardroom governance is unrivalled. He along with the co-authors provides valuable insights and analyses of boardroom functioning from the lens of organization performance. This book is a must-read for all the stakeholders involved in the governance of the organizations.

P. Dwarakanath
Former Chairman, GSK India

This is a unique book on corporate governance, coming up at an appropriate time in the history of corporate India. Every corporate leader, board member and scholar must read this book not only to meet the compliance requirements, but also to gain sustainable advantage in this disruptive digital world by shifting central principle of corporate governance from shareholders alone towards People-Planet-Profit.

Dr B. A. Metri
Director, IIM Nagpur

Role of Boards: Building Sustainable Competitive Edge by Pritam Singh, Asha Bhandarker and Subir Verma describes the blueprint of a corporation and its board. It explains where the load-bearing pillars are and the layout of the essential pipes and wires that all board members must know to manage a corporation effectively.

A leader is the one who takes the first step towards something she or he deeply cares about and in ways that others wish to follow. This blueprint is also useful for those inspired to lead a movement of change in corporate conduct, to make the world better for everyone and who want to break out of the prevalent corporate management paradigm. They must read this book, not because they want to be better board directors, but because they want to make change happen.

Arun Maira
Author and Thought Leader, Former Chairman, BCG India

This book is an instant classic that will be read and consulted by all CEOs, corporate board members and regulators, and those who seek to become one, for years to come. The book has brought out, with remarkable ease and candour, compelling anecdotes and insider’s insights, empirical research and conceptual analysis, the issues and challenges of boardroom functioning and performance. Good governance is going to become a competitive advantage of business in future. The book provides the foundation and road map for good governance necessary for sustained corporate success. It is a must-read for all leaders and boards of organizations as well as future leaders and students.

S. Y. Siddiqui
Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

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