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The performance effects of board diversity in Nordic Firms

  • Published 03/03/2006
  • Last updated 22/06/2011

Frontpage report

In this report we analyze board diversity and its impact on corporate performance. We investigate the 500 largest companies from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. This report reveals that Scandinavian boards are surprisingly homogenous in terms of gender and nationality, whereas the age distribution is more diverse. The low level of board diversity in terms of gender and nationality in the Scandinavian countries seems puzzling given the participation of women in the workforce and the internationalization of the work force of Nordic firms. 

We find substantial differences in board diversity among the Scandinavian countries. Board members tend to be older and less diverse in Denmark than in the other two Scandinavian countries. High gender diversity in Norway and Sweden probably reflects political priorities (e.g. the Norwegian quota). However, the very low fraction of women on Danish boards seems puzzling given the general perception of a highly egalitarian nation.

Main Conclusions:

  • There are no evidence to suggest that board diversity has impact on the company performance in either a positive nor negative way

  • 15% women and 8% foreign members in Nordic boards

  • 38% of the boards are less than 45 or over 65 years old

  • Denmark has the lowest share of women with 8% (16% in Sweden and 24% in Norway)

  • Norway is in front when speaking of foreign board members with 13 %. (6% in Denmark and 8% in Sweden

Prosjekt start: 10.2005 

Project end: 11.2006

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