Board diversity management in FTSE350 - So close and yet so far: Reflections & the way forward

Rita Goyal, Nada Kakabadse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The challenge of board diversity has been tackled through various interpretations of diversity, encompassing a range of demographic characteristics and different approaches, adapted to align with the prevailing institutional practices in different countries. In corporate governance, the United Kingdom has stood out as a trailblazer by advocating for a more inclusive and varied board makeup to enhance corporate governance, with a comprehensive perspective on diversity. Remarkably, without the imposition of strict mandates, leading UK companies have achieved noteworthy yet measured advancements in promoting gender diversity within their boardrooms. However, diversity management accomplishments in the UK are mainly limited to Non-Executive Director positions in FTSE100 boards, and the Executive Director positions, Committee reporting positions, Chairs and CEO roles remain overwhelmingly male-dominated. Furthermore, the Gender Pay Gap in the UK remains even lower than Europe's average. Therefore, through interactions with 57 corporate elites, this study examines the progress and its limitations and suggests the way forward. The study recommends focusing on the experience instead of the demographic attributes of the directors. Second, we offer that the intersectionality of experience needs to be prioritised on boards. Third, we report that historical bias continues to be deeply embedded and impacts gender balance; therefore, continuing voluntary targets may address gender balance in different hierarchies/roles. Finally, we find that female Directors are under harsher scrutiny, which may hamper their natural leadership style, depriving boards of the benefits of a diverse composition. Contributions to literature, praxis and policy are recorded in the chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElgar Research Handbook on Global Diversity Management
EditorsMustafa Ozbilgin , Cihat Erbil
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Board diversity management
  • Elite interviews
  • Diversity of experience
  • Unconscious bias
  • The UK Corporate Governance
  • Reflections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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