Return on diversity : a study on how diversity in board of directors and top management teams affects firm performance

University essay from Högskolan Kristianstad/Sektionen för hälsa och samhälle; Högskolan Kristianstad/Sektionen för hälsa och samhälle

Abstract:

Today, gender quotation in the Board of Directors has become an important political question that is being discussed not only in Sweden but in several other countries as well. However, research on gender diversity and, for that matter, other forms of diversity in the corporate world is not something new. Diversity in Board of Directors and Top Management Teams and how it affects firm performance have been the topic of many researches the last two decades. Nevertheless, there are still many unanswered questions in this field that need to be answered. The purpose of this dissertation is to study how diversity in BoDs and TMTs affect firm performance. We used five different diversity variables, tenure, age, education, nationality and gender in our research and we tested them separately to see how they each affect firm performance. Because there is limited previous research conducted on diversity in Sweden and on Swedish firms, this dissertation attempts to fill that gap.

This study is conducted on Swedish firms that are listed on large cap on Stockholm stock exchange. We used several ways to measure the five different diversity variables in both BoDs and TMTs. Firm performance was measured by using two well established measurements, Return on Equity and Return on Assets. We developed ten hypotheses to test how diversity affects firm performance; some diversity variables had positive effect on firm performance, while others had negative effect. The hypotheses are based on earlier research. There are mixed results from our study; seven out of ten hypotheses had to be rejected due to insignificant relationship between diversity and firm performance. Three hypotheses were rejected, even though they showed a significant relationship between diversity and firm performance, because the relationship was the opposite of our hypotheses. One reason for these results can be that there is low diversity in both BoDs and TMTs, and this makes it difficult to measure and establish a relationship between diversity and firm performance.

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