Four facets of governance
A tool for those businesses with a governing body to assess their style

The big idea

Governance is all those activities concerned withthe overall direction, effectiveness, supervision and accountability of an enterprise. It is a complex area that includes legal, social, political, financial and psychological issues. It includes everything from group dynamics to company law. Governance in the creative and cultural sectors is generally thought of in terms of a board of trustees of a charitable organisation. But this tool could be used in relation to any form of business where a group of people come together with accountability for the future of the business. In 2009 the Charity Finance Yearbook included an article by Paul Breckell (Director of Finance, Royal National Institute for Deaf People). In it he put forward the Four Facets of Governance Model as a tool for reflecting on different governance behaviours.



The Four Facets of Governance Model considers the nature and extent of engagement by a governing body. It is not meant to be a static or prescriptive model. It is also possible for a governing body to occupy more than one quadrant at a time. Its focus as a body might also shift in relation to a changing external context or the lifecycle of the business. The model helps you think about how your governing body is operating in relation to its business strategy, staff, funders, customers/users/audiences and other stakeholders. It also considers the time and energy that the governing body commits to undertaking its role.

The Tool

The tool identifies different governing body behaviours and how they impact on your business. It is for any business that has a group of people responsible for its overall direction and accountability. You can use it on your own or as a group.