Corporate board diversity: Tokenism, or true change?

Corporate board diversity: Tokenism, or true change? Corporate board diversity: Tokenism, or true change?

October 11, 20191 min read



As corporations face pressure to increase gender diversity on their boards, there are those that simply add a single female director to appease critics, and those that make genuine and successful efforts to diversify.


Mark Mallon, assistant professor of strategic management, is part of a research team that has explored factors that can differentiate between what is a token effort, and one that adds more female directors to a corporate board.


Research recently published by the team found that U.S. firms with more top female managers and with a female director serving on the nominating committee are more likely to see additional female board appointments. The article titled “Beyond tokenism: How strategic leaders influence more meaningful gender diversity on boards of directors” appeared in Strategic Management Journal.


“We also found that boards and nominating committees with younger members amplify these effects, and result in boards that have greater female representation,” Mallon said. “These of course aren’t the only factors that can contribute to greater gender diversity on corporate boards, but they are important ones.”


Professor Mallon is available to talk with you about this research, which hopefully can add to your coverage of the efforts by corporations to change the composition of their boards to better reflect the broader population.


If Professor Mallon can assist with your reporting about corporate governance, please reach out to Owen Covington, director of the Elon University News Bureau, at ocovington@elon.edu or (336) 278-7413. Professor Mallon is available for phone, email and broadcast interviews. 


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