A Comparison of Gender Diversity in the Corporate Governance Codes of France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

40 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2010 Last revised: 21 Apr 2010

Date Written: April 6, 2010

Abstract

International differences exist in the legal, cultural, ownership and other aspects of corporate governance. Convergence, however, is achieved in core aspects of corporate governance, such as transparency, disclosure, and the importance of independent, non-executive directors (Mallin, 2007). Furthermore, companies are beginning to realize that they cannot operate in isolation but have to take both the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders into account (Mallin, 2007; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). However, in this article it will become clear that convergence has not yet been reached on the subject of diversity or the demographic characteristics of directors in the Board. It is surprising that so little attention is given to diversity in corporate governance codes when a homogeneous board poses a direct threat to an independent board, and independency is a key message in each corporate governance code. A homogeneous board is more likely to operate as a group and may experience the symptoms of groupthink, be they conscious or subconscious (Janis, 1972). Groupthink brings with it three risks: excessive self-esteem, the creation of tunnel vision and a strong pressure within the group to come to an agreement. All three risks threaten the independent and critical view needed to maintain good governance (the Supervisory Board) and provide good management (the Board).Countries have different or no approaches in their corporate governance codes to address the issue of homogeneity of directors. This article first describes differences in research on diversity in the Board from an international perspective.

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Board Composition, Gender Diversity

Suggested Citation

Lückerath-Rovers, Mijntje, A Comparison of Gender Diversity in the Corporate Governance Codes of France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (April 6, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1585280 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1585280

Mijntje Lückerath-Rovers (Contact Author)

Tilburg University / TIAS ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, North-Brabant 5071HS
Netherlands

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