Women Directors Change How Boards Work
Laura Liswood, Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders and author of the Harvard Business Review article, “Women Directors Change How Boards Work,” says that giving females more opportunities for board service can boost organizational performance. She notes that organizations are just beginning to learn more about the important ways women are changing the inner workings of boards. When it comes to decision making, women bring a different set of perspectives, experiences, angles and viewpoints than their male counterparts. Female directors often probe more deeply into the issues at hand than male directors by asking more questions, leading to more robust intra-board deliberations. She also cites the recent research of professors Anita Woolley and Thomas W. Malone, whose studies have shown that increasing the number of women on a team increases its collective intelligence because of the additional diversity.

Aaron A. Dhir, an associate professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School, identified seven benefits of gender-based heterogeneity for board service and group dynamics. They include: enhanced dialogue; better decision making, including the value of dissent; more effective risk mitigation and crisis management, including a better balance between risk-welcoming and risk-aversion behavior; higher quality monitoring of, and guidance to, management; positive changes to the boardroom environment and culture; and more orderly and systematic board work.
Harvard Business Review (02/17/15) Liswood, Laura
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