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Monique Cikaliuk, Ljiljana Eraković, Brad Jackson, Chris Noonan and Susan Watson

In the context of complex and dynamic relationships among different corporate constituencies, boards of directors are increasingly expected to play a stronger role in dealing with non-shareholder and non-management stakeholders. This chapter aims to contribute to the behavioural perspective of research on corporate boards by exploring the board–stakeholder relationship. By employing stakeholder theory our study places an emphasis on the normative and instrumental aspects of the board’s approach to stakeholders. We illustrate different forms of board–stakeholder relationships with examples from three New Zealand companies. These examples are derived from original research on effective board leadership in large New Zealand corporations. Our study suggests that the board’s instrumental approach may lead to a strategic level of interaction (temporary and focused stakeholder participation), whereas a normative approach may steer towards an inclusive and long-term stakeholder dialogue.