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This paper describes the development and validation of the Governance Self-Assessment Checklist (GSAC). The GSAC was designed to assist boards of directors of non-profit and public-sector organizations to identify strengths and weaknesses in the governance of their organizations, educate board members about the essentials of good governance, and improve their governance practices. The instrument is comprised of 144 items organized into 12 subscales. The GSAC was developed from a review of the literature on governance practices and organizational effectiveness, assumptions about “best practice” embedded within other board-effectiveness assessment tools, and the first author's personal board and management experience and governance case studies (Gill, 2001). Two hundred and eighty one board members and 31 executive directors from 32 nonprofit agencies participated in the present study. External, independent observers rated the effectiveness of 27 of the organizations. The results indicated that the 12 GSAC subscales have excellent internal consistency reliability (i.e., high Cronbach's alpha coefficients), exhibit good criterion-related validity (in being moderately to strongly related to external and internal ratings of organizational effectiveness), and are able to discriminate between stronger and weaker aspects of board functioning. The relative strengths and weaknesses in board effectiveness (as perceived by board members themselves) were identified, and the implications of the findings for the assessment of board effectiveness and field applications of the GSAC were discussed.

Mel Gill. Co-authors Dr. Robert Flynn, Co-Director, Centre for Research on Community Services, University of Ottawa, and Dr. Elke Reissing, Assistant Professor of Psychology, U of O.

This is a pre-print of an article published in the journal Nonprofit Management and Leadership Vol. 15 (3) March 2005.

http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-NML.html ; www.interscience.Wiley.com .

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