Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Sumit Kundu

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Maria Aysa-Lastra

Third Advisor's Name

Carolina Gomez

Fourth Advisor's Name

Ronaldo Parente

Fifth Advisor's Name

Laszlo Tihanyi


Boards of directors, corporate governance, internationalization, mergers and acquisitions, resource dependence theory

Date of Defense



What constitutes effective corporate governance? Which director characteristics render boards effective at positively influencing firm-level performance outcomes? This dissertation examines these questions by taking a multilevel, multidisciplinary approach to corporate governance. I explore the individual-, team-, and firm- level factors that enable directors to serve effectively as strategic resources during international expansion. I argue that directors’ international experience improves their ability to serve as effective strategic consultants and resource providers to firms during the complex internationalization process. However, unlike prior research, which tends to assume that directors with the potential to provide important resources uniformly do so, I acknowledge contextual factors (i.e. board cohesiveness, strategic relevance of directors’ experience) that affect their propensity to actually influence outcomes. I explore these issues in three essays: one review essay and two empirical essays.

In the first empirical essay, I integrate resource dependence theory with insights from social-psychological research to explore the influence of board capital on firms’ cross-border M&A performance. Using a sample of cross-border M&As completed by S&P 500 firms from 2004-2009, I find evidence that directors’ depth of international experience is associated with superior pre-deal outcomes. This suggests that boards’ deep, market-specific knowledge is valuable during the target selection phase. I further find that directors’ breadth of international experience is associated with superior post-deal performance, suggesting that these directors’ global mindset helps firms in the post-M&A integration phase. I also find that these relationships are positively moderated by board cohesiveness, measured by boards’ internal social ties.

In the second empirical essay, I explore the boundary conditions of international board capital by examining how the characteristics of firms’ internationalization strategy moderate the relationship between board capital and firm performance. Using a panel of 377 S&P 500 firms observed from 2004-2011, I find that boards’ depth of international experience and social capital are more important during early stages of internationalization, when firms tend to lack market knowledge and legitimacy in the host markets. On the other hand, I find that breadth of international experience has a stronger relationship with performance when firms’ have higher scope of internationalization, when information-processing demands are higher.





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