The Way it was: 1976.

 
FREE EXCERPT

Founding Words

We believe in private enterprise and the profit system and the institution of the Corporation, but only up to a point. Our fondness for the system begins with the profit motive which converts labor and materials into goods and moves them to market at half the cost and twice the rate of competing systems, but it ends where unconscionable and laissez-faire exploitation of a defenseless public begins.

Stanley Foster Reed, founder of DIRECTORS & BOARDS, in "An Editorial on the Occasion of Our First Issue" [Spring 1976].

Boardroom Communication

One of the key dimensions of boardroom activity is communication. As the issues facing board members become increasingly complex, directors need to develop a new attitude toward language, and a new vocabulary to deal with the multiplicity of contemporary pressures. The director's role requires that he react intelligently to the impact of specialized words that bombard him from management scientists and the business elite, as well as peripheral fields of activity. It is unrealistic to ignore the development of new words and phrases simply because a particular vocabulary is outside one's area of interest. Since most innovation in business language comes up from management rather than down from the board, and because new concepts are usually expressed in buzzwords, the director needs to learn at least some of these in order to understand and respond to those who may be a flair ahead of him in verbalistics.

Robert Kirk Mueller in "Boardspeak: Buzzwords in the Boardroom" [Spring 1976]. Mr. Mueller, then chairman of the Arthur D. Little consulting firm, would subsequently serve as a member of the editorial advisory board of DIRECTORS & BOARDS and write a dozen articles for the journal in addition to many books on the subject in his long career as a much-admired governance expert. He died in 1999 at age 86.

Interlocking Directorships

Despite extensive documentation and periodic popular complaints, the existence of interlocking directorates among large corporations has not generated much concern across a wide segment of American business and society. The fact that interlocking has never been related to any identifiable economic effects on the corporations involved probably explains a large part of this disinterest. Although speculations abound as to the alleged anticompetitive effects of interlocking -- reciprocal agreements, preferential advantages, insider dealings, market manipulations, and shared decisionmaking -- these notions have never been reduced to specific quantifiable factors shown to influence either individual or corporate fortunes. Because fears about the activity have not been confirmed, a recent Congressional staff report condemning interlocking was forced to utilize intuitive arguments: despite "the lack of evidence demonstrating specific abuses...common sense, practical...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP