Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 463–479 | Cite as

Boardroom Diversity and its Effect on Social Performance: Conceptualization and Empirical Evidence

  • Taïeb Hafsi
  • Gokhan TurgutEmail author


In this paper, we seek to answer two questions: (1) what does boardroom diversity stand for in the strategic management literature? And, (2) is there a significant relationship between boardroom diversity and corporate social performance. We first clarify the boardroom diversity concept, distinguishing between a structural diversity of boards and a demographic diversity in boards, and then we investigate its possible linkage to social performance in a sample of S&P500 firms. We find a significant relationship between diversity in boards and social performance. This relationship is moderated by diversity of boards. Our results also reveal the effects of the specific variables that make up the diversity of boards and diversity in boards constructs. In particular, gender, and age have a significant effect on corporate social performance. Some important measurement issues are raised and discussed.


Board of directors Corporate social performance Corporate social responsibility Boardroom diversity Gender diversity KLD Racial diversity 



We acknowledge helpful comments from Albert A. Cannella of Tulane University. We are also indebted to the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations and to the Direction de la Recherche of HEC Montréal for their partial financial support of this research. Finally, we acknowledge a very helpful review process. In particular, we are grateful to two anonymous referees for insights that have made this paper more valuable.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HEC MontrealMontrealCanada

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