Investigating director development in South Africa

Mans-Kemp, Nadia ; Viviers, Suzette ; Staal, Blanche-Mari ; Van Schalkwyk, Jurie (2018)

CITATION: Mans-Kemp, N., et al. 2018. Investigating director development in South Africa. Acta Commercii, 18(1):a579, doi:10.4102/ac.v18i1.579.

The original publication is available at https://actacommercii.co.za

Article

Orientation: To effectively fulfil their multiple roles, the four King Reports suggest several development mechanisms for newly appointed and seasoned directors. Research purpose: This study investigated the most prominent King III director development initiatives used by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Top 40 companies over the period 2011–2015. Motivation for the study: Despite the emphasis on director development in the King Reports, there is a paucity of academic research on the topic. The authors hence evaluated corporate reporting on and the application of selected director development mechanisms. Research design, approach and method: A mixed-methods approach was adopted. Key words were used to conduct content analysis on the companies’ integrated reports. Disclosure and depth scores were constructed to evaluate reporting trends. To gain further insight into these trends, semi-structured personal interviews were conducted with directors who had varying levels of experience. Main findings: The majority of the JSE Top 40 companies disclosed some details regarding the director development initiatives they used. The key word analysis revealed that most companies focused their development efforts on new board appointees. The interviewees emphasised that the entire directorate should be continuously developed. Participants indicated that mentoring is an important informal development mechanism. In line with literature, they stressed that all directors should take personal responsibility for their development. Contribution/value-add: This study emphasises the importance of continuous director development beyond the orientation of new board appointees. A well-developed board is in a better position to fulfil its responsibilities to shareholders and other key stakeholders than a less developed one.

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