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Disrupting the status-quo of organisational board composition to improve sustainability outcomes: reviewing the evidence


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Beasy, K ORCID: 0000-0002-5998-1419 and Gale, F ORCID: 0000-0001-6759-6759 2020 , 'Disrupting the status-quo of organisational board composition to improve sustainability outcomes: reviewing the evidence' , Sustainability, vol. 12, no. 4 , doi: 10.3390/su12041505.

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Sustainability, conceptualised as the integration of economic, social and environmentalvalues, is the 21st century imperative that demands that governments, business and civil societyactors improve their existing performance, yet improvement has been highly fragmented andunacceptably slow. One explanation for this is the lack of diversity on the boards of organisationsthat perpetuates a narrow business, economic and legal mindset rather than the broader integratedvalues approach that sustainability requires. This paper presents a systematic review of the literatureinvestigating how board diversity aects the sustainability performance of organisations. Our reviewuncovers evidence of relationships between various attributes of the diversity of board membersand sustainability performance, though over-reliance on quantitative methodologies of studiesreviewed means explanations for the observed associations are largely absent. Limited measures ofsustainability performance and narrow definitions of diversity, focused predominantly on gender,were also found. Important implications from the study include the need for policy responses thatensure boards are diversely composed. We identify that more qualitative investigations into theinfluence of a broader range of types of board diversity on sustainability performance is needed,along with studies that focus on public sector boards, and research that takes an intersectionalunderstanding of diversity.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Beasy, K and Gale, F
Keywords: organisational boards, sustainability performance, diversity, gender
Journal or Publication Title: Sustainability
Publisher: MDPI AG
ISSN: 2071-1050
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/su12041505
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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