Beware, Women on Board

Having a diverse board is all the rage at companies these days. But the FT reports on a recent study in the Journal of Financial Economics that suggests this might not be the best idea. The research, which was based on a 87,000 directorships at 2,000 U.S. companies from 1996 to 2003, showed that on average, companies with proportionally more women on their boards were less profitable and had a lower market value. The study also showed that boards with females were more effectively supervised and monitored. (The fact that females attend board meetings more often than males often persuades males to show up.) So for a badly-governed business, women can help. But for companies that run smoothly, the female tendency to "meddle" might be more harm than help. One of the study's authors, Daniel Ferreira of the London School of Economics, explains.


"Our research shows that women directors are doing their jobs very well. But a tough board, with more monitoring, may not always be a good thing.” Ferreira emphasized that the point of the study was not to protest diversity in the boardroom. “A board is not, after all, exclusively directed towards profit,” he said. “However, we can see that when you meddle with boards there may be unintended consequences. This is particularly important to bear in mind when companies are under increasing pressure to change the composition of their boards.”

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

Surprising Science
  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less