Boards of Directors Performing Governance: A Dramaturgical Analysis
Présentation du Pr. Niamh M. Brennan – Vendredi 11 mars 2022, de 9h à 12h. Salle 327 (Lascrosse)
This research applies the sociologist’s, Erving Goffman’s, dramaturgical theory to interpret board question-and-answer interactions in public and private, or “frontstage” and “backstage” in Goffman’s terminology. We consider board meetings to be dramaturgical performances. We conceptualize board meetings by reference to the regions in which they occur – frontstage, backstage and offstage, the performance itself, teams and performance teams, dramatic and directive dominance and the connection between dramaturgical and technical perspectives.
The three English National Health Service (NHS) boards in this study are required to meet in public and in private. We audio- and video-record three board meetings (public and private sessions) (nine meetings in total). Our unit of analysis is question-and-answer interactions. Our objective is to explain divergences in question-and-answer interactions between the public and private board sessions.
We conceptualize the board agenda as a theater program, a key dramaturgical tool. We examine the board papers’ dramaturgical effects in term of scripting, snowing and mystification. We consider the influence of other stage props on the audience. Applying a Goffman (1959) lens reinforces our conceptualization of the board meetings in public as performances. The paper identifies ten dramaturgical techniques enabling the performance of governance.
Professor of Management, University CollegeDublin