- Get Involved
- Connect with Leaders
- Leadership Stories
- Research and Tools
In this section, you find a compilation of existing research, newspaper articles and other resources that explore various facets of diversity in leadership. This is a new but growing area for exploration. We hope that this compilation will spark interest and encourage more research in this area.
We want to thank Nicola Fernandes and Ashley Menard from the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, for their work in putting together this DiverseCity Research section.
Please note, some publications are for purchase only.
Research on the numbers of visible minorities and immigrants in leadership
Research on how organizations can diversify their leadership
Conference Board. Business Critical: Maximizing the Talents of Visible Minorities – An Employer’s Guide. March 2005.
The Conference Board outlines the business cases for maximizing diversity and provides a practical guide for how diversity can lead to real financial returns.
Gandz, Jeffrey. A Business Case for Diversity. Fall 2001.
For business, leveraging diversity can help “identify and capitalize on opportunities to improve products and services; attract, retain, motivate and utilize human resources effectively; improve the quality of decision-making at all organizational levels; and reap the many benefits from being perceived as a socially conscious and progressive organization. These benefits should be manifested in an improved bottom line and maximization of shareholder value.”
Roger Martin and Richard Florida. Ontario in the Creative Age. Martin Prosperity Institute. February 2009.
This report makes recommendations for how Ontario can become a world leader in the creative age. It describes the strong links that exist between diversity and economic prosperity.
Gertler, Meric S., Richard Florida, Gary Gates and Tara Vinodrai. Competing on Creativity: Placing Ontario’s Cities in North American Context. November 2002.
This report examines the relationship between talent, technology, creativity and diversity in city-regions in Ontario, and Canada more generally. The authors find a strong set of linkages between creativity, diversity, talent and technology-intensive activity that are driving the economies of Ontario’s city-regions. This work underscores the importance of immigration and settlement, as well as the nurturing of arts and creativity.
Richard, Orlando C. April 2000. “Racial Diversity, Business Strategy, and Firm Performance: A Resource-based View.” Academy of Management Journal. 43(2): 164-177. (For purchase only.)
Richard uses a resource-based framework to examine the relationships among racial diversity, business strategy, and firm performance in the banking industry. Firm performance was measured in three different ways, as productivity, return on equity, and market performance. This study demonstrates that cultural diversity does add value and can contribute to a firms competitive advantage.
Greg Clark. Towards Open Cities. 2008.
This publication presents a summary of background research for the OPENCities project. This project aims to better define and understand openness and to provide cities with much better means of assessing their own openness and of developing and delivering practical leadership and strategies to make themselves open to international populations – in order to achieve prosperity by engaging with an increasingly international world.
Cedric Herring. “Does Diversity Pay? Race, Gender, and the Business Case for Diversity.” American Sociological Review, Vol. 74, No. 2, April 2009. (For purchase only.)
For every percentage increase in the rate of racial or gender diversity up to the rate represented in the relevant population, there was an increase in sales revenues of approximately 9 and 3 percent, respectively. Herring found racial diversity to be a better determinant of sales revenue and customer numbers than company size, the company’s age and the number of employees at any given work location.
Walter Hagemeier, Alexander Holst, and Matthias Eden, “Vive la différence!” in Outlook. Accenture: June 2010.
Research in Europe shows that the more diverse a company’s senior management—in terms of gender, nationality and other characteristics—the better the company is likely to perform.
Virtcom Consulting. Board Diversification Strategy: Realizing Competitive Advantage and Shareholder Value. 2009.
This paper offers advice on how to improve board of governance effectiveness and shareowner value, providing a statistical assessment of the benefits from having board member gender and ethnic diversity.
The Conference Board of Canada. The Value of Diverse Leadership. November 2008.
This report describes how diversity in leadership can lead to improved financial and organizational performance; increased capacity to link to new global and domestic markets; expanded access to global and domestic talent pools; enhanced innovation and creativity; and strengthened cohesion and social capital.
The Diversity Institute. The Importance of Diverse Leadership in the Greater Toronto Area. Ryerson University, 2008.
This report highlights previous research which describes the importance of diversity in leadership.
Carter, D.A., B.J. Simkins B.J and W.G. Simpson. February 2003. “Corporate Governance, Board Diversity, and Firm Value.” The Financial Review. 38:33-53. (For purchase only.)
The authors examine the relationship between board diversity and firm value for Fortune 1000 firms. After controlling for size, industry, and other corporate governance measures, this report finds significant positive relationships between the fraction of women or minorities on the board and firm value.
Erhardt, Niclas L., James D. Werbel and Charles B. Shrader. “Board of Director Diversity and Firm Financial Performance.” April 2003. Corporate Governance. 11(2):102-111. (For purchase only.)
Using 1993 and 1998 financial performance data, the authors find that the percentage of women and minorities on boards of directors for 127 large US companies is associated with positive firm performance. The article also discuses the implications these findings have on strategic human resource management.
Linda C. Chandler, Kenneth C. McCrory. “Beyond Political Correctness.” Association Management. Washington: Jan 2005. Vol. 57, Iss. 1. (For purchase only.)
This article notes that diverse boards help create quality decision-making and increases success in important areas such as mission, member recruitment and retention, conference attendance, and strategic alliances. Some examples of how diversity has benefited associations are presented.
Laura Mazur. “Diversity is the key to reaching wider audience.” London: September 25, 2003.
This article notes that a diverse leadership can strengthen customer understanding.
Julie Siciliano. “The relationship of board member diversity to organizational performance.” Journal of Business Ethics. Dordrecht: Dec. 1996. Vol. 15, Issue 12. pg 1313.
With data from 240 YMCA organizations, this report explores the link between gender, occupational and age diversity and performance.
N. Van der Walt, C. Ingley, G.S. Shergill, A. Townsend. “Board configuration: are diverse boards better boards?” Corporate Governance. 2006, Vol.6 No. 2, 129 – 147. (For purchase only.)
The study examines the financial performance of New Zealand publicly listed companies over a five-year period and focuses on changes in board composition, strategic activity and implications for corporate performance. The study finds limited support for the idea that board configuration, strategic context and corporate decision quality may be linked
Anonymous. “The Dynamics of Diversity.” Credit Union Magazine. Madison: October 2006. Vol. 72, Issue 10, pg. 14, 2 pgs. (Article not available online.)
This article notes that diversity in areas of expertise, education, or personality can increase performance, and suggests ways to improve board performance.
Bill Leonard. “Workplace Diversity should include board room.” HR Magazine. Alexandria: February 1999. Vol. 44, Issue 2, pg. 12. (Article not available online.)
This article presents a study that proposed that board diversity can improve organizations’ strategic planning process.
The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity List
The Editors of DiversityInc present a list of the top American companies which show a commitment to diversity.
Canada’s Best Diversity Employers 2011
Canada’s Top Employers presents the best employers for women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, aboriginal people, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people.
Best Employers for Newcomers
Canada’s Top Employers presents the best employers for newcomers to the country.
Diversity in Governance Awards
Every year the Maytree Foundation honours organizations that have made efforts to diversify their leadership.
Improving Representation in the Judiciary: A Diversity Strategy (June 27, 2012)
Presentation by Wendy Cukier, founder of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, at the release of a research report revealing that some progress has been made with female representation in the Canadian Judiciary but visible minorities are under-represented.
Employment Equity Act: Annual Report 2007
This annual report presents the number of visible minorities, women, aboriginal people and persons with a disability employed by the federal public service, by companies with large federal contracts, and by companies regulated by the federal government who must submit data to the government to comply with the Employment Equity Act.
democraticSPACE. Women, Visible Minorities in Ontario’s Legislature. December 2006.
DemocraticSPACE is advertised as Canada’s leading source for non-partisan election news coverage. This post presents figures on diverse political representation in the Ontario legislature (in 2006). The site gives basis to the claim that women and visible minorities are under-represented in the legislature – despite comprising 22.9% of Ontario’s population, visible minorities account for only 6.8% of the legislature, less than one-third of their share of the population.
Public Policy Forum. (Not as) Male, (Not as) Educated, (Not as) Experienced & (Still) White.
This presentation provides a statistical breakdown of Canada’s Members of the 39th Parliament. Comparisons to the 110th US Congress and the 54th British Parliament are also included.
Matheson, Andrew. Seeking Inclusion South Asian Political Representation in Suburban Canada. December 2006.
The Elections Canada study aims to explain the variables that have led to a more favourable political opportunity structure for visible-minority politicians and candidates in Canada’s suburban centres. The study pays special attention to South Asian politicians in the Toronto suburbs of Mississauga and Brampton, highlighting their high success rate in visible-minority political representation. The report suggests that factors that have contributed to a more favourable political structure include: dense residential concentrations, strong socio-economic status and acculturation, and lower incumbency rates.
Ian Greene. The Courts. Canadian Democratic Audit series. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006. Chapter 3. (For purchase only)
This chapter reviews the backgrounds of lawyers and other legal professionals to evaluate the extent to which they reflect the major demographic groups in Canadian society. The chapter highlights the importance of representation and inclusion in any of the legal professions.
The Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario, Corporate Diversity Assessment Report
The Corporate Diversity Assessment report is intended to provide a snapshot of where Ontario workplaces stand in matters of diversity. It looked at the experiences of visible minorities, as well as other minority groups (women, people with disabilities, LBGT etc.). The survey, conducted in September and October 2007, was made available to all members of HRPAO and 830 HR professionals responded.
University of Toronto: Employment Equity Report, 2007
This report presents data on the number of visible minorities, women, aboriginal people, and persons with a disability as well as some information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people.
Ryerson University: Annual Report on Employment Equity, 2007
This report presents data on the numbers of Women, Visible Minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, and Persons with Disabilities at Ryerson University.
Yvonne Abraham. “Diversity still lagging in Bay State boardrooms: White men retain power, survey says.” Boston Globe. Boston, Mass.: May 11, 2007, pg. A.1
This article highlights the findings from the first comprehensive survey of race and gender in Massachusetts boardrooms, revealing an immense mismatch between thee composition of those boards and the makeup of the overall population.
Pat Bradshaw. A Call to Action: Diversity on Canadian Not-For-Profit Boards. Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations. April 2009.
This study presents the results of a survey of 240 organizations. It finds that while women have made great strides, the proportion of board members from different ethnic background and visible minorities have made much less progress.
The Catalyst Series: Career Advancement in Corporate Canada: A Focus on Visible Minorities – Lead Sponsor RBC
Catalyst Canada partnered with the Diversity Institute of Management & Technology Institute at Ryerson University to launch a multi-year study focused on the experiences and perceptions of visible minority executives / managers / professionals and their colleagues employed in large Canadian organizations. Over 17,000 individuals in 43 large publically-traded and privately-held organizations and professional service firms responded. Five reports were released over a three year period, including “Critical Relationships,” “Workplace Fit and Stereotyping,” and “Diversity & Inclusion Practices.”
Aaron A. Dhir. Towards a Race and Gender-Conscious Conception of the Firm: Canadian Corporate Governance, Law and Diversity. February 10, 2009. CLPE Research Paper No. 01/2009.
This report describes the underrepresenation of women and visible minorities on the boards of Canadian Firms, describes the reasons this may be, and suggests some pracitcal ways to overcome board homogeneity. These recommendations include changes to director nomination processes, shareholder proposals and existing corporate governance principles.
Westphal, James D. and Laurie P. Milton. 2000. “How Experience and Network Ties Affect the Influence of Demographic Minorities on Corporate Boards.” Administrative Science Quarterly. 45:366-398. (For Purchase Only)
The authors examine how the influence of diverse directors on corporate boards is contingent on the prior experience of board members and the larger social structural context in which demographic differences are embedded. The results provide some interesting findings on maximizing the prior experience of minority directors on boards.
Virginia Galt. “Diversity tips from shop floor up.” The Globe and Mail. Toronto: November 9, 2007, pg. C.1
This article highlights examples of human resource management strategies employed by companies which acknowledge and manage workforce diversity from entry level positions.
Claire McCarty Kilian, Dawn Hukai, C. Elizabeth McCarty. “Building diversity in the pipeline to corporate leadership.” Journal of Management Development. Wisconsin: 2005. Vol. 24, Iss. 2, pg. 155-168. (For Purchase Only)
This paper goes beyond the barriers to the success of women and people of colour in corporate environment and focuses on successful interventions.
Richard A. Bernardi David F. Bean and Kristen M. Weippert. “Minority membership on boards of directors: the case for requiring pictures of boards in annual reports.” Critical Perspectives on Accounting. London: November 2005. Vol. 16, Iss. 8, pg. 1019. (For purchase only.
This research study argues for an increased presence of gender and race diversity on board of directors, and suggests that annual reports that include pictures of board members relates to a significant increase in the presence of ethnic minorities and females.
Kerry C. Stackpole. “Bringing the Best to the Boardroom.” Association Management. Washington: January 2003. Vol. 55, Iss. 1, pg. 96.
This article discusses six ways to take advantage of unique opportunities and accelerate an association’s progress in identifying and selecting high potential new leaders for their boards.
Tanya van Biesen and Sharon Rudy. Executive Inclusion: Bringing Diversity to Canada’s Senior Ranks. Spencer Stuart, May 2009.
Spencer Stuart spoke to diversity experts and human resources executives to learn more about the barriers to greater diversity in the senior ranks, and the means by which companies can overcome them to bring true inclusion to the executive suite.
Macfarlane, Fiona, LL.M., Diane Sinhuber, CA and Tanya Khan, CA. Diversity Briefing: Questions for Directors to Ask. July 2010
Diversity is increasingly regarded as a business imperative. The issue is receiving attention from industry and shareholder groups as well as regulatory and legislative bodies. When managed properly, diversity can provide an important competitive advantage for business. Diversity encompasses factors including age, culture, personality, skill, training, educational background and life experience. The influence of a variety of perspectives and viewpoints can contribute to flexibility and creativity within organizations, which can in turn help them thrive in a complex and competitive global economy.
Diversity Briefing: Questions for Directors to Ask focuses primarily on the importance of diversity within companies, and the ways in which it comes to the attention of the board through the board’s oversight of areas such as strategy, risk and executive succession. It also addresses the importance of diversity on the board itself and offers questions that are intended to be a catalyst for useful dialogue among directors, for directors with management, or with outside advisors.
Fox, Mark. September 2007. “Tools for Improving Your Board’s Diversity.” Nonprofit World. 2007, Vol 25; No. 5, 8 – 11. (For purchase only.)
This article notes the benefits of a diverse board, and provides a model for a diversity and skills matrix that can be used to evaluate a board’s diversity while avoiding tokenism.
Berkshire, Jennifer C. 18, October 2007. “Ideals in Action: How Five Nonprofit Organizations Made Progress on the Road Toward Inclusion.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. p.D-7-D-13. (Not available online.)
This article profiles the work that five nonprofits have done to increase diversity within their staff and boards, as well as in the nonprofit community at large.
Preston, Caroline. 18, October 2007. “Grants for Growth (Minorities in Non Profit Groups).” Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Foundations are undertaking effort’s to increase diverse leadership in the non-profit world. This article explores the phenomenon and points to techniques and institutions that are attempting to increase their diversity.
Lichtenstein, Richard. “Promoting Diversity in Health Management: The University of Michigan Experience.” The Journal of Health Administration Education. Michigan: Summer 2005. 22(3):251-82.
The article discusses the importance of diversity in health management training programs; the University of Michigan’s Summer Enrichment program (SEP), a program to increase the number of students of colour who receive graduate training in health management; and to report the results of a survey of SEP alumni.
Diversity Matters: Changing the Face of Public Boards
This report sets out the benefits of board diversity and provides practical ideas for promoting more transparent and inclusive board processes.