This study draws from the corporate governance literature to investigate the implications of board involvement for international joint ventures (IJVs). We extend recent corporate governance research on the value of board involvement by investigating unique sources of complexity related to the nature of the IJV. We argue and find that board involvement can enhance the performance of IJVs, particularly for collaborations that are complex in nature due to their broad functional scope as well the level of market overlap between IJV parents. We complement recent research on joint venture control that has focused on the antecedents and types of control, as well as studies on formal (e.g. contractual safeguards and monitoring) and informal governance mechanisms (e.g. trust) by providing empirical evidence that IJV board involvement is valuable when directors undertake their control and coordination responsibilities. We advance corporate governance research by providing evidence that joint ventures possess several unique characteristics that shape the value of board involvement, thereby showing that applications of corporate governance theory to joint ventures are useful, but should be made with care. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.