The paper 'Diversity on Boards of Directors in Australia is a Concern to the Government" is a good example of a business case study. The board of directors is one of the various internal control systems that are anticipated to guarantee that the interest of the staffs is strongly associated, regardless of whether it is an individual and institutional investor of a private corporation, or else the country in the case of public boards (Kang, Cheng & Gray, 2007). The functions of the boards are mainly; enforcement of legal necessities, allocation of the general corporate policy, and guarantying of proficiency and resourceful organization (Billimoria & Piderit, 1994).
Van der Walt et al (2006) point out that, board effectiveness relies upon numerous aspects for instance magnitude and composition, the leadership structure, and corporate governance evaluation mechanisms. Current Status of Diversity on Boards of Directors Diversity on boards of directors is among the most noteworthy governance subjects at present experienced by the contemporary corporations in Australia; such diversity issues include; gender, age, race, ethnicity, the multiplicity of the idea, age, occupation knowledge and sovereignty of directors.
Despite efforts by the Australian government and other non-governmental entities of promoting diversity on boards of directors in various corporations, there has been slow advancement of women and other under-represented issues in both the public and private sector boards. “ Observations made by commentators still have it that, corporate boards tend to be homogenous groups, largely composed of men of similar ages and with similar demographic, ethnic, educational professional backgrounds, as well as some evidence that correlates diversity at board level with the enhanced corporate performance” 1. 1. An excerpt from the Minister of Superannuation & Corporate Law, Senator Nick Sherry letter at the meeting of the ministerial council for corporations (MINCO) in March 2009, while he was lobbying for advice from the advisory committee on matters relating to board diversity. The under-representation of women on the boards of listed public companies has been the underlining issue of diversity on boards in Australia.
According to the Equal Opportunity for Women at the Workplace Agency (2008), the Australian census of women in leadership signifies that the proportion of women on boards of the ASX top 200 public listed companies is currently 8.3%, down from 8.7% in 2006.
It also indicates that 51% of ASX top 200 companies have no female directors. Further, the census still reveals that the proportion of women in executive management positions in ASX top 200 companies is currently 10.7%, a decline from 12% in 2006 and 11.4% in 2004. The reasons for the relatively low representation of female directors in Australia include; reluctance of the public companies to realize the importance of gender diversity in the board, increase in the number of mining and energy industries, the culture of works that do require long hours in the places of work, exorbitant child care costs, and downsizing of the managers which could have been biased to women. Another diversity issue is the age2 and country of birth3 director’ s representation.
It is renowned that the average age of public companies directors is 53 years, with the average age of directors of larger ASX listed companies being 59 years. The age factor is chiefly contributed by the ageing population of Australia. The 2009 report on diversity on boards of directors still had outstanding gaps in the verification founded on diversity on boards, this includes; other under-represented groups, for instance, people with disabilities, and the selection procedure of non-executive directors.
Bilimoria, D. and Piderit, S. K. (1994), “Board Committee Membership: Effects of Sex-Based Bias”, Academy of Management Journal, 37(6), 1453-1477.
Burt, R. S. (1998), “Gender and Social Capital”, Rationality and Society, 10(1), 5-46.
EOWA (2008) “Australian Census of Women in Leadership”, in Diversity on Boards of Directors, Corporations & Markets Advisory Committee- Australian Government Report, March 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2010 from Corporations & Markets Advisory Committee website: http://www.camac.gov.ac/reports.
Kang, H., Gray, S. J. & Cheng, M. (2007), “Corporate governance and board composition: Diversity and independence of Australian boards”, Corporate Governance: an International Review, 15(2), 194-207.
Konrad, A. M., Prasad, P. & Pringle, J. K. (eds.) (2006), Handbook of Workplace Diversity, Thousand Oaks CA, SAGE Publications Ltd.
Liff, S. and Ward, K. (2001), “Distorted views through the glass ceiling: The construction of women’s understandings of promotion and senior management positions”, Gender, Work and Organization, 8(1), 19-36.
Lyon, G. & Professor Du Plessis, J., (2005). The Law of Insider Training in Australia. Annandale NSW, the federations press. Chapters 1-3.
Miller, T. & Del Carmen Triana, M. (2009),“Demographic Diversity in the Boardroom: Mediators of the Board Diversity-Firm Performance Relationship”, Journal of Management Studies, 46(5), 755-786.
Singh, V., Terjesen, S. & Vinnicombe, S. (2008), “Newly appointed directors in the boardroom:: How do women and men differ?”, European Management Journal, 26(1), 48-58.
Van Der Walt, N., Townsend, A., Shergill, G. S. & Ingley, C. (2006), “Board configuration: are diverse boards better boards?” Corporate Governance, 6(2), 129.