The board accepted their handling of the whole episode, which undermined chief executive Steele's position and left the union facing claims of amateurism, had "not shown the RFU in the best light".
The RFU changed the job description for the performance director role twice in the space of 48 hours. Sir Clive Woodward, the preferred candidate for many at Twickenham, then ruled himself out of the running.
Peter Baines, the RFU's chairman of governance, is now conducting a review of the entire appointment process.
But RFU chairman Martyn Thomas poured cold water on suggestions that Steele's position as chief executive is untenable following an embarrassing few weeks at Twickenham.
"This has been a testing time for the RFU but the key to a strong organisation is how it responds in difficult times," said Thomas.
"The board is united in its desire to draw a line under the events of the past weeks, learn the lessons and emerge stronger as a result. The review by Peter Baines will help us do that.
"It is also important that recent events do not obscure the very positive progress we have taken under John Steele's leadership over the last nine months.
"Our task now is to continue to support him in creating the new organisational structure that we need to deliver success on and off the field in the lead up to 2015."
The board has signed off three different versions of the performance director job description, dating back to January, but still claim not to fully understand how the job will work.
Steele has been tasked to give a presentation on how he sees the position working within the new RFU management structure at the next board meeting in June.
The board have also asked Steele to outline the models used by other rugby nations and other sports.
"We have a clear plan to take us forward which includes reviewing and learning from what has been a disappointing period for our sport," said Steele.
"After a successful season, we must now ensure that Martin Johnson and his team have all the support they need for what promises to be an exciting Rugby World Cup in September and October."
The bone of contention within the RFU has been whether or not the performance director should sit above the England manager in the chain of command and influence the senior international team.
The initial job description for the performance director role was drawn up in January as part of Steele's management restructure.
His proposal, backed by the management board, outlined the successful recruit would be in charge of the whole England structure, from the senior team down to age-group and academy level.
After a shortlist of three candidates had been drawn up and an interview day arranged, Steele decided to remove all direct influence over the senior England team from the role.
Steele's new plan was again backed unanimously by the management board - but he then suffered the embarrassment of having it overturned by a vote of 4-3, with one abstention, at an emergency meeting just two days later.
The board claimed they had failed to understand exactly what the ramifications would be of watering down the role.
Many senior figures at Twickenham feared the new job, with a reduced sphere of influence, would not be attractive to a leading candidate like Woodward.
The whole recruitment process has been put on hold until a final decision has been taken on the scope of the performance director role.
Meanwhile, Stuart Lancaster confirmed today he would still relish the opportunity to take the performance director role in spite of all the politics.
Lancaster is currently the England Saxons coach and head of player development at the RFU, a role which covers 95% of the performance director's job description.
"My role is to coach the Saxons team, run all the regional academies...and run all the national age-group teams," said Lancaster, who is on the RFU's shortlist.
"If you look at the job spec [for the performance director's position], it is not overly dissimilar apart from one or two quite significant parts.
"Clearly it is a role that I am currently doing and have been doing for the last three years so it is a role that I would be interested in if the opportunity came up.
"I do believe from my point of view, there is a lot of good people in the programme and lot of good things going on and we need to consider that going forward."
Lancaster will coach an England XV against the Barbarians on Sunday before leading the Saxons into next month's Churchill Cup campaign but he has a presentation ready for his interview.
"Clearly what is going on above my head, I can't influence so I am just keeping control of what I can control and continue to do the job to the best that I can. Whatever will happen in the future, will happen," he said.
"In the short term, I have four international games in four weeks as well as managing the day job, which is managing the regional academy programmes, trying to support the Under-20s, the Under-18s are going to Australia and the Sevens team are up in Edinburgh."
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