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Dilemmas, Dilemmas: Practical Case Studies for Company Directors Paperback – January 20, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
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From the Author
Directors need good judgement. A lack of it can send them to jail, expose them to ridicule, or render them bankrupt. <P> Good judgement is developed by bad experience; so how can directors develop judgement without suffering the experiences?<P> This book is an aid to developing good judgement. It will be of interest to aspiring and experienced directors alike. The case studies are drawn from real life situations which have been fictionalised to preserve the anonymity of the protagonist and to clarify the issues. The advice is practical and pragmatic.
From the Back Cover
This book by one of Australia's leading governance and boardroom experts allows directors to practise and develop their judgement.<P> Contributions from leading international directors, consultants and academics provide insights to extend and enhance the abilities of directors to effectively meet the challenges of their role.<P> The case studies are lively, realistic and up to date. They allow directors to encounter issues and develop responses to enhance their personal judgement.<P> With contributions from around the world and examples of commercial, government-sector and not-for-profit enterprises this book is an authoritative and comprehensive source of inspiration for aspiring and experienced directors.
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Other books sometime depict success in the Boardroom as a matter of following the right procedure. That's like believing there's procedures for ensuring a high-quality marriage.
The case studies in this book should be used for discussions, not only in business schools, but in Boardrooms.
High-quality Board members have developed a wisdom -- a sense of high-quality judgement -- and also a humility about that wisdom. This book portrays both.
The case studies are given one-line explanations in a table at the start of the book, making it easy to find situations relevant to any given problem. They range from possible legal issues to inter-personal relationships, major businesses to tiny family concerns, big profit to non-profit, and stable to faltering. The laws may change between the lands, but ethics and business concerns remain the same. What fascinated me as an outsider was seeing how three different advisers can give such different advice based on the same premise, and how interpersonal relationships and style will probably determine eventual outcomes.
Even without experience or pre-conditioned interest, I found the book fascinating and thought-provoking. A final disclaimer explains the intent is "to educate and entertain," not to provide a comprehensive guide. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself both educated and entertained; my only complaint would be that I wished the table of cases had included page numbers so they'd be easier to find.
Disclaimer: I was contacted by the author and given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Julie McLellan's latest book on the subject deals with this very elegantly. Through a series of case studies she covers a surprisingly wide range of the Dilemmas facing directors - indeed there will be many `ah-ha' moments for almost any director recognising a situation they have faced. Each case study has at least three responses drawn from a wonderfully diverse set of experts, with McLellan's responses forming the consistent thread through them. Then there is room for the reader's own response using the ideas presented.
What is refreshing with this format is that the ambiguity and need for judgement are left open. As in real life it truly depends. This text encompasses not only the technical, legal governance facts but also the interpersonal dynamics. Because of the diverse perspectives of the commentators, the reader reaches a point where the question `what would I do?' feels real rather than theoretical. These are real dilemmas.
So, as a provocation to developing better answers for yourself, this book works surprisingly well.
I feel, however, that it is a concept still in the making. Commentators have been drawn from a number of jurisdictions around the world and there is still another level at which this range can be expanded and used to advantage. In other words, this reflects the ongoing debate globally on these issues, which are the subject of McLellan's useful blog.
We are a young region when it comes to governance and such hand on advice as the book shares are hard to come by here.
Dilemmas, Dilemmas is easy to read and quickly guides the thoughts of the reader towards local examples and problems of a similar nature.
This is a book created with consideration towards providing strong and practical value for the new generation of company directors.
Kristian Kaas Mortensen, President, Baltic Institute of Corporate Governance