(February, 2016) How corporate boards of directors function (and malfunction) made the news in January, with a three-part series in the U.S. Wall Street Journal examining such topics as director independence, “overboarded” directors, and the size of board committees.

While the WSJ reports raised concerns about the adequacy of modern board independence and oversight, an article in the February issue of online governance journal Boardroom INSIDER questions whether we’re actually just “using the wrong boardroom tools for the wrong jobs.”

For example, BI publisher and board consultant Ralph Ward writes that a few decades ago, directors holding board seats in the double digits were not unknown.  Today though, high workloads and tougher investor demands make three or even two board seats the limit.  But Ward asks whether the real concern is “that the current time investment and effort of a director’s job are higher than they need to be

Use of tech meeting and information tools, and smarter board logistics could allow “fewer directors, serving more boards, to offer better governance oversight.”  Ward compares the boardroom leap needed to Henry Ford’s reinvention of how Model T’s were built a century ago using mass production — but boards have proven slow to upgrade.  “Maybe its time we rethink the boardroom rules.”

Also in the February Boardroom INSIDER:

pink BI launches its new library reprint service.
pink Questions to ask before launching a board tech committee.
pinkQ&A: Why you need to know about Director Nomination Agreements.