Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Flexible Structure Meets Regulatory Oversight: A Nonprofit Board Governance Challenge

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 8:30 AM
Johnson II (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Melinda I. Weisberg, Marist College
The landscape of regulation and scrutiny facing the nonprofit board of director member continues to change and intensify.  The attention to compliance produces confusion, friction, and threats to organizational performance and attention to mission.  Risk-adverse boards can fail to respond to the need for innovation and creativity that is required to address complex social problems, as well as keep pace with an ever-changing environment. Additionally, the predicted demographics of nonprofit executive directors is well on the way to reflecting a new and vibrant group of younger leaders seeking flexible and innovative workplace environments for themselves and their staffs. This paper examines the potential development of new and flexible models of nonprofit board structure that simultaneously support attention to compliance while encouraging an environment of innovation.  In line with the methodology of evidence-based research, this paper conducts a review of literature related to current innovative board models as well as examining the application of business models that support an ambidextrous, innovative form of management practice.  Additionally, examples from the nonprofit sports sector are shared that illustrate the need for innovative board design in practice. The paper concludes by contributing a flexible theory-based model for consideration and further discussion.

Keywords: innovation, ambidextrous design, nonprofit board structure.