Ethical Performance
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Female quotas make no difference to board's effectiveness: study

Positive discrimination towards women at board level fails to improve bottom-line business performance, maintains an expert in business ethics.

Professor Nada Kakabadse, a global authority on policy and governance, addressed The University of Strathclyde Business School UAE's 'Research Squared' event recently, and presented research indicating that positive discrimination makes no significant impact on business performance.

Nada explained: "Our study of boards at 50 top companies across the UK, US, Ghana and Nigeria, found that policies designed to increase the number of women in executive positions have delivered no significant impact on a board's performance.

"This challenges widely held perceptions that gender diversity by itself in the workplace improves effectiveness, or increases the motivation and loyalty of employees.

"We found that the presence of women on a board on its own adds little or no value. Rather, it is other factors such as having an effective Chairperson, quality of dialogue, boardroom dynamics and the diversity of directors' skills which determine board effectiveness."

On the flipside, Kakabadse found that successful female directors were more adept than males at understanding how boards work. "Women, on the whole, are better at perceiving invisible power relationships, detecting hidden meaning and the significance of silence, and are also more familiar with boardroom etiquette.

"The female directors in our study felt strongly that women should gain board positions on merit, not through the use of quotas."


Picture credit: © Bobby Flowers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The University of Strathclyde Business School | Global | Diversity

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