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There’s recent evidence that diverse groups act in a more intelligent manner than homogeneous ones, and a new study from researchers at Wake Forest, Kent State, and Pepperdine takes that idea a bit further, testing whether diverse corporate boards are less likely to make the sorts of risky decisions that can take down a company (or an economy). In short: yes.
Despite the strong business case for diversity on corporate boards of directors, informal social networks remain an important source of board membership, and informal social networks tend to be pretty homogeneous. People you already know are more likely to come to mind than people you don’t know when thinking of potential board members. Board membership is also a nice feather to put in a friend’s cap, especially a friend who can reciprocate: It’s prestigious, interesting, not too time consuming and can be relatively lucrative work.
Rather than reject her past in order to assimilate, Jessica Farias recognized early on that “background does matter.”