Oct 24th 2016

The Factors that Influence the Effectiveness of Boards and the Governance Process (Coursera)

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The third course in this Specialization introduces you to the factors that influence how effective boards of directors will be in carrying out their roles and responsibilities and hence the impact they have in shaping the success of the organization they govern. While this course has been developed with North American culture in mind, we do appreciate that, in other parts of the world, the nature of the factors that influence the effectiveness of nonprofit boards of directors may vary. Nevertheless,it is our hope that much of the course content will still be of value to those in other parts of the world.

Keywords: Nonprofit; Nonprofit Sector; Voluntary Sector; Nonprofit Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Volunteer Organizations, Leadership, Management, Governance, Board, Board of Directors, Performance, Effectiveness

Course 3 Overview:

Week 1: This week's questions: What factors influence the effectiveness of board meetings? What are the formal procedures and structures within the board that impact its performance? What can a board do to intentionally improve the way it structures itself and runs its decision making meetings?

Week 2: This week's questions: What do we mean by board composition and development and why is it important? Why is it difficult to change the composition of the board? How do you design the ideal mix of board members? How do you locate, recruit and develop board members?

Week 3: This week's questions: What do we mean by the "culture" of the board and why is it important? How do boards develop and pass along culture? Can board cultures be intentionally changed? What is the role of leadership in shaping board culture? What do effective nonprofit leaders involved in governance do? How can leadership be managed for higher performance?

Week 4: At this stage, you are asked to review the course content, submit a written assignment (known lightheartedly as a BEAR (Board Effectiveness Readiness Assessment), and take two multiple choice Readiness Assurance Tests (known similarly as RATs). One RAT will assess knowledge and reading comprehension and the other will test application of knowledge within a practical case.

Week 5: We will encourage you to discuss the RATs in the discussion forums and take them again should you wish to change any of your answers based on the information exchanged.

The Factors that Influence the Effectiveness of Boards and the Governance Process is course 3 of 4 in the Improving Leadership & Governance in Nonprofit Organisations Specialisation.

Identify and analyze leadership and governance issues, create practical ways to improve board performance and work with boards to implement these improvements. This Specialization consists of three courses plus a Capstone Project: (1) Course 1 topics: The unique nature of the nonprofit sector in society; leadership in nonprofit organizations and the governance process. (2) Course 2 topics: The roles and responsibilities of nonprofit organization boards of directors and the challenges in carrying them out effectively. (3) Course 3 topics: The critical factors that impact the ability of the board to govern and how to intentionally change them into positive influences. The Capstone Project: How to help real boards overcome inertia and resistance to change and improve their governance effectiveness in an applied service learning experience.