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New Zealand boards and frontier firms


Jo Smith

Sally Garden

David Teece

Kieran Brown

Date published

4 September 2020


The Commission investigated the role of corporate governance in lifting the performance of New Zealand firms as part of its inquiry into New Zealand’s “frontier firms”.

This paper New Zealand boards and frontier firms presents the findings from in-depth interviews with 22 executive and non-executive/independent directors of New Zealand firms. Participants were recruited from the Institute of Directors’ membership.

The aim of the interviews was to generate new insights about how current corporate governance practices are supporting or impeding the productivity of New Zealand firms. The discussions focused on how boards make decisions that would foster growth, scale-up, innovation and internationalisation – all of which associated with higher productivity and are characteristics of frontier firms.

We also commissioned the BRG Institute to explain the management and governance capabilities required to foster the productivity and global competitiveness of New Zealand firms. Read their report New Zealand frontier firms: A capabilities-based perspective.

Short on time? Read the key findings here.


Productivity growth

The goal of our research is to facilitate a move from an economy that grows by using more “inputs” (such as labour or natural resources), to one where productivity plays a greater role in driving economic growth – essentially, working smarter, with greater financial and knowledge capital employed per worker.

Our research explores a wide range of productivity issues: employment, firm dynamics, technology diffusion, innovation, regional development, spatial and public-sector productivity.

Working together

The commissioning of research and the practice of collaboration with others is important to us. It enables us to access subject/sector specialists and benefit from the cross-promotion of ideas and insights. You will find research from the Commission, as well as research we commissioned, below.

Strengthening learning

Our Economics & Research team is independently evaluated every two years to understand how to improve and enhance our impact. See the latest evaluation report and 2020 survey results here.


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