Conestoga news

September 20, 2020 9:41 AM

Grant will support research on representative governance

Conestoga professor Dr. Anthony Piscitelli has received an Insight Development Grant of over $47,000 from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to examine governance in business, co-operatives and non-profit sector organizations.

The research will explore the challenges boards of directors face when trying to represent different stakeholder groups, such as business stockholders and co-operative organization’s membership. The project will be led by Piscitelli in partnership with Dr. Sean Geobey at the University of Waterloo and Dr. Andrea Perrella at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Boards of directors exist primarily to ensure management is fulfilling the wishes of the ownership, membership and other key stakeholders,” said Piscitelli. “Theory suggests that boards do this by setting strategic direction and provide oversight while leaving day-to-day operations to the staff. Yet, boards of directors often face challenges when an organization’s stockholders or membership raise concerns that are operational in nature, and therefore, suppose to be left up to staff.”

The two-year grant will be used to clarify the appropriate relationship between a board and its membership by seeking to explain how non-profit and co-operative sector directors conceive their role in representing constituents, develop a model for boards to address issues while adhering to requirements of widely adopted theories of governance, as well as make applied recommendations on how boards can respond to and enhance the voices of their membership.

The Insight Development Grant through SSHRC is available to Canadian institutions to support research in its early stages and enable the development of new questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches or ideas. Projects supported by the program represent how social science and humanities research contribute to strengthening the health, education and economy of society.

Conestoga is ranked among Canada’s top 12 research colleges, supporting the needs of industry and community partners while providing students with opportunities to build real-world skills. Over the past year, more than 3,100 students and close to 240 faculty and staff were engaged in applied research projects.