Brown, D., Brown, D. & Anastasopoulos, V.
Ottawa: Conference Board of Canada
Area of focus: 
Business Case

The authors provide a business case for diversity in leadership by examining research on specific areas of governance practice. Inner diversity, in terms of viewpoint, talents, skills and ideas, is highlighted as being of key importance, and outer diversity (e.g. by gender) can function as an indicator of this. It finds that women on boards provide a symbolic benefit, sending a signal to stakeholders that diverse voices will be heard at the top.

Female participation in governance is also shown to be associated with practical benefits such as higher assets, earnings, and number of employees, resulting from increased uptake of good governance practices such as accountability, monitoring of performance measures, creation of committees and assumption of responsibility.

The report concludes with a self-assessment tool for organisations wishing to evaluate their readiness for women on boards, which also functions as a series of action points for implementation.