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


Beasy, K and Gale, F, Disrupting the status-quo of organisational board composition to improve sustainability outcomes: reviewing the evidence, Sustainability, 12, (4) Article 1505. ISSN 2071-1050 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

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

DOI: doi:10.3390/su12041505


Sustainability, conceptualised as the integration of economic, social and environmental values, is the 21st century imperative that demands that governments, business and civil society actors improve their existing performance, yet improvement has been highly fragmented and unacceptably slow. One explanation for this is the lack of diversity on the boards of organisations that perpetuates a narrow business, economic and legal mindset rather than the broader integrated values approach that sustainability requires. This paper presents a systematic review of the literature investigating how board diversity a ects the sustainability performance of organisations. Our review uncovers evidence of relationships between various attributes of the diversity of board members and sustainability performance, though over-reliance on quantitative methodologies of studies reviewed means explanations for the observed associations are largely absent. Limited measures of sustainability performance and narrow definitions of diversity, focused predominantly on gender, were also found. Important implications from the study include the need for policy responses that ensure boards are diversely composed. We identify that more qualitative investigations into the influence 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 intersectional understanding of diversity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:organisational boards, sustainability performance, diversity, gender
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Environment policy
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Institutional arrangements
UTAS Author:Beasy, K (Dr Kim Beasy)
UTAS Author:Gale, F (Professor Fred Gale)
ID Code:137643
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2020-02-25
Last Modified:2021-08-25
Downloads:23 View Download Statistics

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