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John Peebles

Doctor of Business and Administration
Study Completed: 2011
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
Power and influences on the board's agenda: Who determines what corporate directors discuss?

Mr Peebles examined how the agenda of public listed companies in New Zealand is set. He used theoretical and practical understandings from corporate governance, company law, and power and influence to identify those responsible for agenda setting. Mr Peebles found that directors have a passive acceptance of established systems of agenda-setting, and that there is no formal methodology on how this is addressed at board level. This passivity was discussed by Mr Peebles in terms of power cliques within the board, and was found to support the ‘passive parsley’ syndrome suggested by Irving Olds, former Chairman of U.S. Steel. Mr Peebles’ study suggests that director independence and other factors such as age, experience, ethnicity and gender are secondary to competence and transparent boardroom process.

Dr James Lockhart
Professor Frank Sligo