Exploring Board Diversity from a Stakeholder Perspective

Sifile, Obert ; Suppiah, Susela Devi K ; Chavunduka, Desderio (2015-11)

Article

The research sought to understand whether board selection yields diversity on the board of directors and whether diversity improves performance of boards. The collapse of companies in Zimbabwe and globally is alarming, yet the companies are directed and controlled by nonexecutive directors who monitor and oversee the performance of management. The research was qualitative and rooted in the interpretive paradigm. Semi-structured interviews and social media were used to gather data. Purposive and snowball sampling were used to select respondents. Data was analysed using NVivo 10. Findings of the research were that diversity of the board comes in the form of skills, education, experience, gender mix and backgrounds. Two three year terms would bring enough diversity beyond which a board member would not contribute meaningfully. Interlocking directorships breed diversity up to a maximum of three boards. Board size was observed to bring knowledge, skills, resources, velocity of processing board issues and a fair representation of sectors of the economy. Recommendations of the study are that: boards should have a gender balance so that companies tap from capabilities of both genders. Appointments to boards should be based on skills and experience. Board members should not sit on more than two committees. Boards should have a reasonable balance of male and female non-executives.

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