Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Weilei Shi

Committee Members

Naomi Gardberg

Yu Yue

Sunny Li Sun

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Strategic Management Policy


Corporate Governance, Relational Pluralism, Board of Directors, Network Theory


A large body of literature has been devoted to explaining the influence of corporate boards on their firms’ financial performance, yet the findings paint a puzzling picture. My dissertation seeks to shed light on current research by paying nuanced attention to latent board characteristics and obtaining a more comprehensive understanding of the board-performance relationship. I adapt a relational pluralistic perspective of the board to empirically examine multiple facets of director ties, identities, power relations, and networks and their effect on firm performance. This relational view of the board extends the current understanding of director behavior by aggregating director relationships on multiple relational dimensions. I also modify the existing relational pluralism model to be used specifically for the board literature and examine the contingent nature of the model. I establish the construct validity of my multi-dimensional conceptualization of board relational pluralism using panel data on listed Chinese firms between 2007 and 2010. I also establish predictive effect of relational pluralism on firms’ accounting and market performance. In addition, I demonstrate that board relational pluralism have differential effects on firm performance, using firm strategy as a contingency.