At the beginning of Black history month, in a class action complaint against the NFL and others replete with heart-breaking allegations of racism, former Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores, charged that, among many other things, he and other members of the proposed class have been denied positions as head coaches and general managers as a result of racial discrimination. Defendants that have responded publicly have reportedly denied the allegations and said that the claims are without merit. Particularly notable from a governance and DEI perspective are allegations regarding the disingenuous application of the vaunted “Rooney Rule”—which originated in the NFL back in 2002 in an effort to address the dearth of Black head coaches—but has since become almost de rigueur in governance circles as one effective approach to increasing diversity in a wide variety of contexts, including boards of directors. However well-intentioned originally, the complaint alleges, “the Rooney Rule is not working.” Flores claims that, to fulfill the admonitions of the Rooney Rule, NFL teams “discriminatorily subjected” him and other Black candidates “to sham and illegitimate interviews due in whole or part to their race and/or color.” While this claim is far from the most incendiary in the complaint, if shown to be accurate, it would certainly seriously damage the reputation of the defendants involved. Can an approach that has allegedly failed to work in its original setting still be made to work effectively in other contexts?
There’s been a lot written about the benefits of board gender diversity, but this article from the Harvard Business Review, Adding Women to the C-Suite Changes How Companies Think, reports on a study by three academics of the impact of adding women to the C-Suite—not just whether the businesses performed better, but why they performed better. In other words, “[w]hat are the specific mechanisms that drive the positive business outcomes associated with increasing the number of women in the C-suite?” According to the authors, much past research has revealed that companies with more women executives “are more profitable, more socially responsible, and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences.” But why is that the case? To find out, the authors looked at a narrower question of how the addition of women to top management teams changes companies’ “strategic approach to innovation”? The authors conclude that the addition of women executives to the management team brought more than “new perspectives”—they “actually shift how the C-suite thinks about innovation, ultimately enabling these firms to consider a wider variety of strategies for creating value.”
2016 Global Board of Directors Survey highlights differences in viewpoints between male and female directors, particularly regarding diversity
by Cydney Posner The inaugural 2016 Global Board of Directors Survey of more than 4,000 directors of both public and large, privately held companies from 60 countries conducted by Spencer Stuart, the WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) Foundation and several academics explored “in depth how boards think and operate,” comparing the views of […]