Balance rather than critical mass or tokenism: gender diversity, leadership and performance in financial firms
Rights accessOpen Access
Purpose: This study analyzes how board’s gender diversity, and more specifically a gender-balanced configuration—i.e., a proportion of women in the boardroom ranging between 40% and 60%—affects economic and risk oriented performance in financial firms. Design/methodology/approach: The empirical application uses a rich dataset that includes detailed accounting and organizational information for all financial firms in the Costa Rican industry during the period 2000-2012. The proposed hypotheses are tested using panel data (fixed-effects) regression models that emphasize that bank performance is affected by various dimensions of the banks’ gender diversity. Findings: The longitudinal analysis of the Costa Rican banking industry reveals that, unlike a proportion indicating a particular critical mass of women on the board, a balanced gender configuration yields superior economic performance (ROA and net intermediation margin). Additionally, the findings show that the performance benefits of gender diversity only exists in the presence of a gender balanced board configuration, and that this positive effect is not conditioned by the presence of women leadership in the corporate hierarchy (Chair or CEO). Originality/value: The paper further explores the influence of board gender diversity on organizational performance by adopting an approach to the gender diversity-performance relationship that goes beyond the mere representation of women within the corporate hierarchy.
CitationLafuente, E.; Vaillant, Y. Balance rather than critical mass or tokenism: gender diversity, leadership and performance in financial firms. "International journal of manpower", 2019, vol. 40, núm. 5, p. 894-916.