Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2021.0966

Hybrid organizations must sustainably attend to multiple goals embedded in different institutional spheres. Past research has highlighted the value for hybrids in recruiting board members representing different logics to avoid attentional drifts; yet, diverse boards have also been prone to conflicts that occasion attentional lapses, thereby jeopardizing these organizations’ pursuit of multiple goals. We draw on a longitudinal comparative case study of five work integration social enterprises with institutionally diverse boards to uncover an integrative model of hybrid governance consisting of a protective board structure and relational leadership processes that, together, prevent distracting cognitive and emotional conflicts and foster attentional engagement of both the board and senior managers to multiple goals. The protective board structure prevents shifts in board composition and ensures the enshrined representation of the organization’s logics. Relational leadership processes—which help board members relate to each other, with the organization’s mission, and with senior managers—include enculturation processes (i.e., interventions to reduce the cognitive and emotional gap between institutionally diverse board members) and bridging processes (i.e., interventions to facilitate communication and alignment between the board and senior managers in the decision-making process). These findings contribute to research on hybrid organizations, board governance, and organizational attention.

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