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Coping with an economic downturn: positive steps boards can take to secure competitive advantage

Coping with an economic downturn: positive steps boards can take to secure competitive advantage

Coulson-Thomas, Colin (2008) Coping with an economic downturn: positive steps boards can take to secure competitive advantage. In: 9th International Conference on Corporate Governance: Making Capital Markets Work Through Corporate Governance, 18-19 Sep 2008, London, UK. (Unpublished)

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A revolution in boardroom practice and membership is required if boards are to cope with current challenges and exploit unprecedented opportunities.

Many board meetings have become sober affairs. In important national markets consumers are faced with a credit crunch and falling house prices, and are pulling in their horns. In various sectors the rising price of oil and other commodities puts pressure on corporate budgets, margins and profits. Inflationary pressures and stalling growth compound the problems experienced by many businesses and complicate the situation for public policy makers searching for an appropriate response. While politicians consider their options many corporate boards face tough decisions.
A balance has to be struck between the imperatives for current performance and future prospects (Coulson-Thomas, 2007a). The dilemma for many corporate boards is reconciling the need for short term savings with the desire to build longer term capabilities. In periods of adversity it is often easier to distinguish between winners and losers. The winners or those most likely to succeed often behave very differently from the losers who often compound their problems and trap themselves in a descending spiral of decline. This paper looks at successful and unsuccessful responses to economic down turns and steps which boards can take to improve competitive positioning by containing costs, improving performance in key areas and enhancing corporate ability to compete and win. It draws upon a continuing research programme into what high performers do differently and the experience of Cotoco projects (see, in order to identify next steps that can have a beneficial impact upon profitability and growth.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: directors, boards, governance, corporate governance, leadership, direction, corporate direction, directorial qualities, credit crunch, board consultancy, training, development, learning boards, director competences, board competences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:14

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