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Gender and Ethnic Diversity on Boards and Corporate Responsibility: The Case of the Arts Sector

Abstract

This study provides insights on sector-specific characteristics, challenges and issues that affect corporate responsibility (CR) in relation to ethnicity and gender on arts boards. Using stakeholder theory, the study explores how arts board composition (e.g. gender and ethnicity) sets the scene for dynamics that affect CR. Data analysis is based on interviews with 92 board members and stakeholders sitting on 66 arts boards in Australia. Results suggest that the dynamism of gender and ethnic diversity on arts boards makes them responsive to CR; however, their presence does not always lead to CR. For diverse boards to lead to CR, our findings indicate the significance of board member attributes of passion, skill and capability of developing networks, irrespective of gender and ethnicity. The article advances understanding of the implications and relevance of ethnic and gender diversity on non-profit boards and contributes to an important yet under-researched body of literature.

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Correspondence to Fara Azmat.

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Azmat, F., Rentschler, R. Gender and Ethnic Diversity on Boards and Corporate Responsibility: The Case of the Arts Sector. J Bus Ethics 141, 317–336 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2707-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2707-0

Keywords

  • Arts
  • Boards
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Diversity
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender