Board diversity's antecedents and consequences: A review and research agenda

Alessandro Zattoni*, Stergios Leventis, Hans Van Ees, Sara De Masi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
114 Downloads (Pure)


For several decades, the boards of directors have been relatively homogeneous groups consisting of white old men (the so-called ‘good-old boys’). This static and apparently immutable feature has been changed recently, as social movements and the evolution of corporate law and good governance codes promoted an increasing diversity in the boardroom. In parallel with the diffusion of more diverse boards, leadership and governance scholars have started to analyze the consequences of board diversity. Based on the idea that members’ diversity increases group experiences and viewpoints, most scholars argued that higher board diversity positively affects board decisions and firm outcomes. However, despite the soundness of this perspective and the number of previous studies, the empirical evidence provides only partial, mixed and inconclusive findings. Building on these premises, we did a systematic and interdisciplinary literature review aimed at taking stock of our understanding of board diversity's antecedents and consequences. Our analysis and critical assessment of 184 studies synthesizes major results, identifies main gaps, and highlights important avenues for further research. Finally, we outline several ways to overcome current (theoretical and methodological) barriers and further advance research on board diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101659
Number of pages14
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2023


  • Board diversity
  • Board of directors
  • Corporate governance
  • Firm performance
  • Leadership
  • Literature review

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