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I unashamedly span the academic practitioner divide, having spent a decade in business, and consulting to business. I maintain that relationship with business by way of professional directorships, investment and farming in New Zealand. I developed the College’s executive education portfolio successfully tendering for COMU’s (2007) and Fonterra’s governance development programmes (2008) that sought to develop the critically reflective director – circumspection without compromising contribution. Those programmes developed self-awareness, focused on integrity, enhanced competencies, and challenged the minimalist view of governance that appears to pervade many of New Zealand’s board rooms today.
My military background, consisting of fourteen years in the Royal New Zealand Infantry (Reserves), resulted in a Ministerial appointment to the Territorial Force Employers Support Council. I am a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand, and over the last 15 years have held a number of substantive governance appointments including Greenlea, where I chaired the audit committee; Vision Manawatu (3 years as chair); and, T H Enterprises. I farm with my family north of Feilding - on what is now become a multigenerational family farming business.
I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, College of Business. I have extensive business consulting and executive development experience in Australasia and the Pacific and have published on doctoral education, strategy, governance, corporate failures, and strategic performance. Over the last decade I have contributed a stream of empirical and conceptual research exploring the ‘black box’ of governance.
During my academic career I have spent considerable time in the United States of America; sabbatical at Washington State University (Go Cougs!); supervising MBA study tours (East and West Coasts and through the flyover states); and, collaborating with colleagues.
The primary objective of my research is to establish causality between board decision making (governance) and subsequent business performance. The methodological approach I have adopted and continue to develop is largely through the 'black box' (direct board room observations, board decision making, or proxy sites). The caveat being the need to span the academy-practitioner divide producing relevant outputs to both governance research and governance practitioner communities.
Impact on both communities is measured by regular invitations to attend conferences, address practitioners, and publish widely.
Various executive education contracts ($730k to date ) have also provided opportunities for data collection and access to boards of directors. Professional directorships (Greenlea Group Ltd, Beetham Pastural Limited, Henergy Eggs Ltd, Heritage Farms (New Zealand) Ltd, T H Enterprises & Vision Manawatu) have provided and continue to provide experiential learning for critically reflective practice. Visible impact, relevance and credibility with the governance community is also critical for access for students.
Governance research is in its infancy, relationships may or may not have been observed, and causality between boards and performance is yet to be established. Theory is dominated by agency, and has been found wanting. 'Black box' research provides an alternate approach and is increasingly envied by the research community.
Resource Development and Management, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Agriculture, Land and Farm Management (070100):
Business and Management (150300): Commerce, Management, Tourism And Services (150000): Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement (150303):
Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness (070106):
International Business (150308)
My area of expertise is in the research and conduct of corporate and institutional governance, especially from the perspective of strategic desicion making. This expertise has been developed over three decades beginning in farm management in the mid-1980s, where frustration with technologically dominanted solutions inadequacy of sustainably shifting farmers' and growers' profit, culminating today with a focus on 'black box' decision making in board rooms. On that journey research for a masters degree (Hons) in Farm Management; econometrics and international economics (Washington State); and, a PhD in International Business (Auckland) were completed within the broad context of agriculture and agribusiness. However, it wasnt until the late 1990s in a consulting capacity that the wonders, complexity, and hubris of boardrooms was encountered in full - this is where decisions relating to wealth creation are made. A phenomenally difficult site to enter, let alone observe! But once encountered never forgotten, and something I have nutured ever since.
Outcomes from this research stream are presented to and published among the reserach community; they are distributed to the practitioner community via various courses and interventions (e.g., DairyNZ Mark & Measure Governance Development Programme), workshops (e.g., Independent Schools of New Zealand), industry presentations (e.g., SIDE - South Island Dairy Experience) and n umerous media releases and appearances.