Regional Information and Influence Networks: The Geography of Corporate Board Membership in Texas
The Industrial Geographer
Texas plays a key role in the United States economy. Its status as an economic driver in the national energy and agriculture sectors is unquestioned. However, the state has always found itself confronted by its geographic separation from the economic core regions of the northeastern United States. The question arises as to how well Texas has been able to connect its business community with these core regions, both to influence external business decisions and to gather important business information. The research presented here analyzes the inter-urban business network established by corporations as they invite executives from other firms and places to serve on their corporate boards. Study results show that Texas-based firms are extensively connected with selected businesses and cities in this national network, but that firms in Texas’ two dominant business centers, Dallas and Houston, appear to be following contrasting strategies in using this network. The analysis groups most major U.S. corporate centers, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Atlanta, together in a common incoming versus outgoing director linkage behavior relative to Texas-based firms. San Francisco is among the few major centers that do not follow the behavior of the others. The paper concludes with a discussion of the meaning of these results and calls for further research into the evolving form of corporate networks in America.