Behavioral Corporate Governance

The Behavioural Corporate Governance project examines the concrete behaviour of governance stakeholders who are critical for sound functioning of the governance system. These stakeholders must be at the heart of the appropriate corporate governance design.


The discussion of corporate governance, understood as a normativeframework of conduct for the management and supervision of a company and its units, is too heavily influenced by a legal perspective, especially in Germany. The actual performance of the management bodies is often disregarded in this regard. Rankings by supervisory boards or boards are usually conducted in such a way that compliance with certain standards is already regarded as a quality indicator. However, this measures compliance and not performance. But this does not systematically improvethe effectiveness and efficiency of leadership bodies. Indeed, in the worstcase scenario such bodies even suffer

Objective of the project

Initially focused on the supervisory board, the aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to systematically derive the performance determinants of good supervisory board work. By combining business management and behavioural perspectives, the success criteria and, in particular, the behaviour of the board members, which is critical for success, are of relevance. In this regard, a specific focus currently is on the development of discussion and decision-making processes.The aim of a series of interviews with experienced supervisory board members is to identify which behaviours are regarded as critical, how such behaviours come about, and what consequences such behaviours have. On the basis of these results, better-informed conclusions about relevant functional conditions as well as the requirements for the composition of supervisory committees can be derived.


Prof Dr Jens Nachtwei, personnel psychologist, is a researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin, teaches at University of Applied Management and heads the university spin-off IQP.