Female board members make bolder decisions
Monday, May 13, 2013
Posted by: Barbara Francella
corporate boards tend to be more open to new ideas and more likely to speak up
in favor of bold decisions than their male counterparts, key traits that often
lead to their companies’ financial success, according to a study recently
reported in Canadian Business magazine.
board members are more likely to rely on "co-operation, collaboration and
consensus building” in situations that call for complex decisions, according
to the study, co-authored by Chris Bart of McMaster University and Gregory
McQueen of A.T. Still University. In contrast, male directors tend to make
decisions according to "rules, regulations and traditional ways of doing
business,” according to the study of 624 Canadian board directors, 75 percent
male and 25 percent female.
the study, participants were given morally conflicting scenarios and asked to
solve each problem and explain how they arrived at their decision. Women were
more likely than men to consider fairness and the interests of multiple
stakeholders in their decision-making process.
seem to be predisposed to be more inquisitive and to see more possible
solutions,” making them "more effective corporate directors,” Bart
Men, on the other hand, still function as "pack animals. They would be
very unhappy with people coming in with different values or views to the
make up a mere 11 percent of board members at companies listed on the
S&P/TSX Composite Index, which represents more than 240 of Canada’s largest
companies, according to a recent analysis by TD Bank. Forty-three percent of
the companies reported no female board member; 28 percent reported only one.
would governance, nominating committees and board chairs not want to have that
skill set, that competence available to them in abundance?” Bart asked. "It’s
no longer just a question of it being the right thing to do, to have women on
the board. It’s the bright thing to do.”
The study’s results send a
very strong signal to investors and shareholders, who would benefit from
increasing gender diversity in boardrooms. "There’s a huge pool of qualified,
available women who would certainly be eligible based on their experiences to
fill the boardroom seats,” Bart said.