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Edited by Hans Landström, Annaleena Parhankangas and Colin Mason

Crowdfunding is a hot topic and this Handbook provides a service to the research community by codifying, discussing and examining research in this area. It will be a starting point for researchers seeking high quality research in this new and important area.
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Eythor Ivar Jonsson

The aim of the chapter is to explore the role and tasks of the advisory boards from the perspective of current corporate governance literature. From a practical perspective the chapter has potential to improve the understanding of the role of advisory boards for entrepreneurs and their start-ups. The three dominating paradigms of corporate governance literature for roles of boards _ agency theory, resource dependency theory and stewardship theory _ have been used as a framework for the study, focusing on the monitoring role, service role and the strategy role of boards. The chapter is based on empirical data collected over ten years, including approximately 100 case studies of advisory boards for start-ups and early growth stage companies in Denmark. The results indicate that the stewardship perspective is most important and that advisory boards are active in this context in terms of a strategy role. On the other hand, the agency theory perspective and the role of monitoring has limited importance. Further research is needed to explore different types of advisory boards in different contexts.

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Seppo Laukkanen, Martin Lindell and Anssi Vanjoki

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Susanne Durst and Julia Brunold

The study of corporate governance is dominated by quantitative research and tends to focus on large listed companies. As a response to this situation, this chapter examines how corporate governance is practiced in smaller businesses. It reports findings based on semi-structured interviews conducted with executive staff of smaller privately held firms from the Rhine Valley region. More precisely, parts of both Austria (Province of Vorarlberg) and the Principality of Liechtenstein were covered. In total, 25 individuals were involved. The findings particularly emphasize the concept of relational governance as a more appropriate governance approach in small firms. Thereby the chapter suggests that the relational governance approach needs to be extended by also considering employees and their contribution to governance practices and company development. The chapter’s findings may help managing directors of smaller firms to better understand and exploit the benefits of different governance mechanisms in their efforts to cope with different business challenges ahead. The findings may also be used by policy-makers to help them develop improved corporate governance codes and best practice recommendations. To sum up, the chapter provides fresh insights into the practice of governance in smaller firms from a practitioner’s perspective. Additionally, it offers the opportunity of expanding understanding of the topic in different parts of the world.