Gender Diversity as the Antidote to 'Groupthink' on Corporate Boards
23 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2018 Last revised: 9 Jun 2018
Date Written: January 6, 2018
Gender diversity on corporate boards has become a point of emphasis, to the exclusion of all other forms of diversity. This paper analyses whether board gender diversity might help boards overcome groupthink (i.e. the failure of board members to consider alternatives to the dominant view when making decisions). This is a significant question because the board is responsible for governance of the company and groupthink is often cited as a hurdle to effectively performing this role. Thus, the paper first examines the role of the board, board decision-making processes and the problem of groupthink, and subsequently, the potential of gender diversity to overcome groupthink. It concludes that gender diversity on corporate boards might help overcome groupthink so long as the women directors are also independent and bear ‘outsider’ status. However, other forms of diversity like race, education, tenure, professional background etcetera might offer the same benefits and thus should not be overlooked.
Keywords: Gender diversity, board diversity, corporate governance, groupthink
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