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Narratives of Diversity in the Corporate Boardroom: What Corporate Insiders Say About Why Diversity Matters

26 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2009 Last revised: 26 Dec 2014

John M. Conley

University of North Carolina School of Law

Lissa L. Broome

University of North Carolina School of Law

Kimberly D. Krawiec

Duke University School of Law

Date Written: September 3, 2009

Abstract

Over the last generation, the concept of diversity has become commonplace and taken-for-granted in discourses ranging from law to education to business. In higher education, for example, it is hard to imagine a faculty job search or a student admissions discussion that was not heavily laden with talk of diversity, in the sense of the representative inclusion of women and racial and ethnic minorities in a group or organization. In this paper we present the results of an interview-based study of the discourse of diversity in a particular business setting: the corporate boardroom. Our principal observation is that - thirty-one years after the Supreme Court's Bakke decision introduced the term into public discourse - corporate insiders appear not to have arrived at a master narrative to explain the pursuit of diversity on boards of directors. Instead, their accounts stress a variety of factors and feature few concrete examples.

Keywords: diversity, race, gender, corporations, board of directors

JEL Classification: K, K22, K4

Suggested Citation

Conley, John M. and Broome, Lissa L. and Krawiec, Kimberly D., Narratives of Diversity in the Corporate Boardroom: What Corporate Insiders Say About Why Diversity Matters (September 3, 2009). UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1415803. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1415803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1415803

John M. Conley

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-8502 (Phone)

Lissa L. Broome

University of North Carolina School of Law ( email )

Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-962-7066 (Phone)
919-962-1277 (Fax)

Kimberly D. Krawiec (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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