Management of entrepreneurship programme initiatives and the role of regional development boards and board representation

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Christie, MJ 2000, 'Management of entrepreneurship programme initiatives and the role of regional development boards and board representation', in HJ Pleitner & W Weber (eds), SMEs in the 21th century - papers presented to the Rencontres de St-Gall 2000, Theme E, Verlag KMU-HSG, Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, St Gallen, Switzerland, pp. 349-362.


There is increasing recognition within Australia and internationally of the importance of a Regional Development Board (RDB) in the economic development process of a region. Specifically RDBs are expected to represent the divergent views of regions and at the same time manage regional development initiatives. Little is understood of how representation influences a board’s ability to implement management processes and roles. This study argues for a holistic micro management role that can contribute to a greater understanding of RDB operations. Based on this holistic examination of RDBs, the paper focuses specifically on representation. The quality of an RDB action contributes to our understanding of how board representation influences board-internal operations. This understanding is particularly important at this time as central government can utilise RDBs as a means to devolve regional development responsibilities. The capacity of an RDB to contribute to the development processes depends crucially on the internal management expertise of an RDB. In turn, the internal management expertise of an RDB depends on the effectiveness of the internal management processes and roles. This paper examines RDBs through regional development and board’s strategy literature that identifies amajor gap in the understanding of how RDBs execute management processes and roles. RDB literature can be organised in terms of two broad dimensions: resource-dependence and population ecology. These two perspectives both focus on environmental resources. From an examination of the conceptual framework, implications of this finding are developed for future research, policy and management implications. Future research promises to extend the understanding of an RDB by codifying the key variable representation from the literature and putting it to work to explain the internal operations of these boards. To sum up, this paper examines the variable representation and the implications this has on RDB management processes and roles.