Finance and Accounting Group
Supervisor: Dr Stuart Cooper & Dr Graham Sadler
Topic: Board diversity and corporate performance
Do Diverse Boards of Directors Govern Differently?
Do Racially and Gender Diverse Boards of Directors in the US and UK experience a difference in their governance? Why?
Researcher – Darlene Booth-Bell, Candidate for PhD
I. Intent of the Dissertation Research
The research intends to study the way in which companies with gender and racially diverse boards of directors may differ in the way that they are governed. Existing empirical research in this area has generally found a positive link between board diversity and firm value. In these studies the research was able to support a relationship between diversity and enhanced firm value. Additionally, others have attempted to explain the reasons diversity is thought to enhance governance by linking existing diversity research and assuming that these advantages hold true for directors. But as yet, few have attempted to offer empirical data that attempts to validate the cited reasons for these observed benefits. Existing research conceptually discusses what may account for the difference in diverse boards based on traditional views held in diversity literature.
My research seeks to contribute to this body of knowledge by strengthening the evidence that supports the link between board diversity and governance, and by validating why this positive relationship appears to exist. This study will go beyond prior research, and attempt to study specific reasons why we may see a difference in governance. Additionally, this study will consider how the racial/gender composition of the board may impact other elements of senior management.
While a survey tool will be used for some data collection, the major portion of this research is a qualitative study. Therefore, much of the information will be gathered in individual interview sessions via open-ended questions. The following categories are the basic framework for these individual interviews:
- Director Reputation and Human Capital – Discussions surrounding the importance of individual director performance on his or her reputation in the larger business environment will be explored.
- Comfort levels – The perceived comfort level with other directors. This includes directors that share race, age or gender characteristics and those that do not.
- Level of Agreement – The overall level of agreement with board decisions versus a possible outsider status on most issues.
- Independence - The level of allegiance to the executive officers of the organization versus his or her allegiance to the organization owners.
- Litigation – The level of input to issues which would affect the organizations legal exposure to discrimination lawsuits.
- Marketing – The level of input to issues which would affect the organizations marketing efforts related to diverse markets.
- Talent - The degree of input in staffing decisions, specifically any concerns about diversifying staff.
- Employee Relations - The level of interaction and visibility to the organization’s employees.
Summary Biographical Information: Darlene Booth-Bell
Masters of Public Management – Carnegie Mellon University
Bachelors of Science in Accounting – Pennsylvania State University
Lecturer in Accounting – Benedict College, Columbia South Carolina – 9 years - current
The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States of America – 8 years Manager and Bank Safety Examiner;
Wachovia Corporation 2 years – Assistant Vice President in Management Accounting Controllers Division.