The benefits of diversity on boards are well-documented and efforts to achieve greater gender and minority representation in boardrooms are beginning pay off. However the impact of the diversity of corporate performance is not fully understood.

The most common argument is the fact that a board with a greater diversity of ages and genders will have a greater knowledge base. This knowledge would not be available to an entire group of men and women who are all the same. A board that is more diverse is expected to be more “cognitive” and to explore more options when deciding on how to move the company forward.

There are other factors involved. Minorities or tokens in groups might self-censor, holding back from speaking out about beliefs and opinions that contradict those of the majority. This means that the board might not be able to take full advantage of the intellectual diversity it has incorporated into its makeup.

Additionally, even though research in the field of academia suggests that demographic diversity can have a positive effect on board decisions, research also suggests that it isn’t the only factor to consider. Other aspects, like the independence of board members and their educational qualifications, measured by the number of years of education that have been completed beyond a bachelor’s degree are able to influence performance.

Companies that want to improve their boardroom composition need to be innovative in their search for new members. For instance, companies could consider contacting universities and business programs to find potential candidates. They could also think about forming task teams that are tasked to look into areas where appropriate candidates may not be obvious. This site here is a much more effective way of increasing the diversity of the board than using external or internal consultants to recommend names.