Boards of directors and nonprofit entrepreneurial orientation: Catalyst, inhibitor, or inconsequential?

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration


Michael H. Morris


Entrepreneurship, Nonprofit, Board of directors, Entrepreneurial orientation

Subject Categories

Business | Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods


Using a resource-based lens, this study examines the impact of the nonprofit board of directors on organizational entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and performance. Despite a strong for-profit and nonprofit research tradition that examines board-performance relationships, results remain equivocal. Similarly, while the board is typically captured by superficial measures (e.g. board size, insider-outsider ratios), little is known regarding the effects of underlying board behaviors and orientations. Moreover, minimal research exists as to the impact of boards of directors on an organization's tendency to innovate, take risks, and be proactive. Based on Phase I interviews, various board behavioral dimensions are identified and categorized. Phase II utilizes a questionnaire developed for the purpose of examining relationships between four board behavioral orientations, EO, nonprofit performance (financial and social), and additional moderating variables (transformational leadership, organizational structure, resource slack, and environmental turbulence). Utilizing data collected from multiple respondents within a large cross-section of Arts and Culture nonprofit organizations, analysis supports many of the hypothesized relationships. As such, this research provides both theoretical and practical insights regarding the board of directors as a valuable organizational resource, as well as the influence of entrepreneurship in the nonprofit organization.


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