This chapter offers an overview of the evolution of research on boards of directors over the last three decades. The concurrent emergence of multi-theoretical views alongside more nuanced and rich methodological approaches has significantly enhanced our understanding of how boards and directors behave. The chapter introduces the key research questions, objectives, methods and results of early research on boards, the so-called input–output studies dominating the 1990s. Next, it discusses the main limitations of these studies and their mixed and heterogeneous findings. Then, it discusses the growing interest in “opening the black box” of boards dynamics, and synthetizes several ongoing research projects aiming to offer a more nuanced understanding of board processes. Last, it summarizes the key findings of studies on boardroom dynamics and effectiveness and outlines some avenues that may inspire future research by governance scholars and the development of best practices by practitioners.
Alessandro Zattoni and Amedeo Pugliese
Alessandro Zattoni and Francesca Cuomo
The chapter presents the history of Mediobanca from its birth to today. This history is particularly interesting for several reasons. First, Mediobanca has for a long time been the dominant player of the national investment banking industry thanks to its links with the three largest Italian commercial banks. Furthermore, Mediobanca has played a key role in the development of the national economic system by both favouring the stability of control and supporting the growth of large national private industrial groups. Finally, the history of Mediobanca is strictly intertwined with the personality and the vision of Enrico Cuccia, one of the most influential and admired bankers of its time.