Board of Director Diversity and Corporate Performance: The Case of South Korea

In: Asian International Studies Review
Authors: Hannah Jun and Hyojin Kim
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Recent corporate governance scandals (such as those at Uber) have reemphasized the importance of proper oversight and monitoring to ensure sustainable corporate performance. While the issue of how to improve corporate governance is not a new one, we have seen a resurgence of interest in whether diversity – particularly at the board of director level – improves this oversight function and, ultimately, corporate performance. This paper contributes to the academic discussion on board of director diversity with a focus on gender diversity and introduces Korea as a subject of analysis given that corporate governance remains a key area of concern for the local market and that, despite having had a female president in its relatively short democratic history and launching the WomenCorporateDirectors Korea branch in 2016, it ranks last among OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member states in terms of female representation on corporate boards. We contribute to the academic debate on the relationship between gender diversity on corporate boards and corporate performance by undertaking a comprehensive literature review on board diversity and corporate performance, introducing data on Korean boards of directors and generating testable hypotheses for future research.

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