Dynamics at Boardroom Level: A Tavistock Primer for Leaders, Coaches and Consultants, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Dynamics at Boardroom Level

A Tavistock Primer for Leaders, Coaches and Consultants, 1st Edition

Edited by Leslie Brissett, Mannie Sher, Tazi Lorraine Smith


248 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367420871
pub: 2019-12-20
SAVE ~$7.99
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 20th December 2019
Hardback: 9780367419431
pub: 2019-12-20
SAVE ~$28.00
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 20th December 2019

FREE Standard Shipping!


How can boards and members of boards reach their full potential?

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) has been leading thinking about organisations since its inception in 1947. Today, as then, the corporate world is undergoing increasing pressure to demonstrate a sustainable, generative and meaningful impact on society and employees whilst delivering improved services and products. These tensions and others are explored in this important new book, Dynamics at Boardroom Level: A Tavistock Primer for Leaders, Coaches and Consultants.

The Tavistock Institute has provided board-level information and guidance for the International Corporate Governance Network, the government-initiated Walker Review following the Banking Crisis, as well as corporate and public sector clients and executives across the world. In this book, the reader gets a useful framework of theory and practice that broadens vision and deepens thinking about what is happening in boardrooms. The book opens the door to the reader to a new world of board dynamics, edited by those who really understand the deeper workings of the complex human system and its work at board level. This edited volume brings together the insights and contemporary case studies from participants on the Tavistock Institute Dynamics at Board Level programme that draws on the thinking of Tavistock scholars and practitioners and their work on the dynamics of task, role, authority and power.

Programme Co-Directors Dr Mannie Sher and Dr Leslie Brissett and their fellow Tavistock Associate, Tazi Smith, have edited a book that speaks directly to issues of our time. The contributing authors are senior leadership practitioners and board evaluators from Government, International consultancy firms, FTSE 100 and Global UN institutions.

Dynamics at Boardroom Level represents an essential resource for business leaders as well as leadership coaches and mental health professionals.


"The approach of Boards vary for obvious reasons - the character of a company’s business, the need for public or democratic involvement, a role in supervising wider membership organisations. Yet they need strong, common attributes as well. They should represent and sustain a strong, positive culture, be transparent and as accountable as possible and capable of holding executives to account. For all this complexity too few Boards are effectively guided about their internal dynamics or dynamic relationships with others. It is a gap of considerable importance, a source of risk. This book and The Tavistock Institute approach are an essential addition to Board capabilities." --Lord David Triesman, Chairman, a Merchant and Investment Bank, Former chairman of a PLC, The Football Association, and Government Minister

"The world is at a tipping point and this book is a timely and welcome reminder of the vital need for leaders, in both the organisational and political spheres, to have an understanding of the powerful unconscious forces that can derail any board. It comes at a time too when governance codes are demanding increasingly, and rightly imposing, behavioural requirements for board members. This book should be on the reading list for all leaders who want a deeper awareness of what happens below the surface when group members interact." --Mitzi Wyman, LLM, MSc, Founder Fulcumleaders.com, Ambassador, International Integrated Reporting Council

"The governance of organizations has never been more important as the demands of an increasingly complex world draw us into considering role, group dynamics, systems, values and outcomes. Boards and how they operate are at the centre of the complex mix of interactions and how boards function what makes them ‘tick’ has never been more important. This book is a valuable contribution to understanding board functioning and thus the making of better organizations." --Lord Victor Olufemi Adebowale, Chair, Social Enterprise UK, Board Member, Co-op Group CEO, Turning Point

Table of Contents

List of Charts and Figures

Foreword by Susan Long

About the editors and contributors

Homage: Edward Craft of Wedlake Bell LLP by Leslie Brissett & Mannie Sher

Introduction to Dynamics @ Board Level by Leslie Brissett & Mannie Sher

Introduction to Part I - Dynamics

Group dynamics and enhancing board effectiveness by Ashley Harshak

Improving board dynamics towards a balanced framework by Joe Binnion

Mastering group dynamics embedding a learning culture by Vincent H. Dominé

Board Dynamics A powerful tool to deal with uncertain times by Beatriz Boza

The role of consultant challenged by national dynamics by Maria Claudia Benassi

Introduction to Part II - Process, Growth & Performance

Caught Between Vision and Memory - the impact of High-Growth on Board Dynamics by Wayne Mullen

The Driving Dynamic, Board Performance and Role by Toy Odiakosa

High-performing boards – Exploring the influence of unconscious behaviours by Paul Schanzer

Decision-making - the no.1 dysfunction impacting the effectiveness of boards by Martin Palethorpe

Board Dynamics as an Explanation for the Rejection of the Role of HR Director from the Boardroom by Rachael Etebar

Modern Boards by Grant Taylor

Introduction to Part III - States of mind

"…Being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts": The Application of Negative Capability in the Board by Steven Phillips

The Importance of Not Being Earnest - The role of humour in the boardroom by Paula Wilson

Narcissism and Boards by George Fischer-Varvitsiotis

Competition, Corruption and Collusion:  The Quest for Power by Tammy Noel

Board Effectiveness: Learning to and from Experienceby Toya Lorch

Introduction to Part IV - Case Illustrations by Joining charity boards: Consequences for board performance and future improvement by David Strudley

Birth of a board – a public sector perspective by Janette McCrae

The Caspian Sea Housing Company: The Role of Board Member in a Two-Family Business by Thomas Brull

Corruption, leader narcissism and the dynamics of board governance: The case of Marks & Spencer, 1999-2000 by Anand Narasimhan

The Finnish Tango: A study of boards in North Eastern Europe by Anja Salmi

A view from the top, a CEO’s reflections by Paul Duggan


About the Editors

Leslie Brissett JP, FRSA, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD is Company Secretary, Principal Consultant/Researcher and Director of the Group Relations Programme at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. He oversees a global practice since joining the Institute in 2012 after 30 years in institutional partnership development. He has been a charity Chief Executive as well as chaired boards and committees in the community and voluntary sector, Further Education and National Health Service in UK. The nature of experience and the ways that people bring their experience into a knowingness that can inform future action are central to his approach to leadership and followership. The encounter with boundaries of self and other and the relationship between internal and external realities are pre-occupations that have taken him deep into the question of human existence. He is a seeker of meaning in the human condition and profoundly impacted by the intersection of science, spirituality, nature, the built environment and culture on human relations. He spends his time between UK and USA.

Mannie Sher, BA (Hons), AAPSW, TQAPsych., FBAP, PhD, is Principal Researcher and Consultant in organisational development and change and an executive coach at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. From these roles he works with top teams on their leadership functions in effecting strategic change. Mannie’s research and consultancy work focuses on the impact of thought on the dialectic relationship between social constructivism, the unconscious and liberal democracy. Mannie is the Former Director of the Group Relations Programme of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London which involved developing and directing group relations conferences in the UK and in many other countries. Mannie has held senior management positions in local government, the National Health Service and voluntary organisations, before moving to the Tavistock Institute in 1997. Mannie is married to a teacher trainer and consultant in primary school education and a soul-mate in group relations. They live in London, have three grown children and a great clutch of grandchildren with whom they love spending their summers.

Tazi Lorraine Smith, B.Sc., DipPFS, is a management consultant in Healthcare. She is a former Independent Financial Planning Consultant and she is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and holds the Personal Finance Society’s Diploma in Financial Planning. She is currently undertaking her master’s degree in Management Consulting and Organizational Change at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her specialist interests include organizational change, social justice and the contribution that psychoanalytic theory offers to our understanding of groups and organizations. In 2018, Tazi completed a 6-month internship at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health