The study, by focusing on a context dominated by firms with a concentrated ownership, in which type-II agency problems (principal-principal conflicts) may occur, aims to depict which board configurations may be effective in protecting minority shareholders by mitigating the risk of controlling shareholders’ expropriation via cash holdings.
The research adopts a configurational approach and empirically conducts a fuzzy set/qualitative comparative analysis on a sample of 268 Italian listed companies.
The analysis depicts three combinations of board configurations and ownership structures that can be considered effective, namely Active Independent Control, Female Active Control and Double Internal Control.
The study revisits the topic of the risk of expropriation via cash holdings in a type-II agency problem framework and delineates the meaning of board effectiveness in a mature context ruled by family firms, like Italy. Furthermore, by drawing on a configurational approach, it overcomes the causality relationship between each board characteristic and cash holdings policies and reasons from a “bundle” perspective.
Keywords: Cash holdings; Board effectiveness; Configurational approach; Minority shareholders’ protection; Principal–principal conflicts.