Board gender diversity and environmental, social, and economic value creation: Does family ownership matter?

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Business Strategy and the Environment


© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment Prior literature on firm value creation for stakeholders has oversimplified and narrowed the concept of value down to “economic returns.” Although economic returns are fundamental to a firm's core stakeholders (i.e., shareholders), other legitimate stakeholders want “value” beyond economic returns. We define stakeholder value as the financial and nonfinancial returns a firm can offer to its legitimate stakeholders, and empirically investigate whether board gender diversity (BGD) improves our multidimensional measure of value. Using Thomson Reuters' ASSET4 data for U.K.-listed firms available from Eikon for the period 2007–2017, we report a significant positive relationship between BGD and stakeholder value creation. In particular, BGD increases social and environmental value creation in addition to economic returns. Furthermore, our results suggest that even though gender-diverse boards are associated with stakeholder value creation in family firms, this is only conspicuous for environmental value creation. The findings suggest that although female directors cater to the interests of broader stakeholder groups, family ownership causes them to mainly focus on environmental stakeholders. The study provides important implications for regulators, stakeholders, and academic scholars.

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