Iscuss the types of board diversity and the impact of diversity on board performance.

Feedback from my tutor:

Your essay plan offers a basic plan of how you intend to approach the Long Essay, it is a good start, but you will need to put some more work into this essay as soon as you can and extend your reading.

Here are some suggestions that might help get you started.

For the introduction, donat spend too many words outlining what will follow. Be as efficient with your word usage as possible here, while just one or two key statistics or a significant example of some kind can be quite powerful to set up a great essay. A focus upon one or two categories of diversity in this essay might be appropriate (and save you some words), but it is important to introduce all the key types of diversity. However, donat spend too long explaining each category or dimension of diversity (e.g. gender, race, culture, religion, age, experience, ethical perspective, political persuasion), because they are self-explanatory, and simply need some supporting statistics as much or more than in-depth commentary on each category of diversity.

In a way, what you also need to do in this essay is highlight how some classes of individual have been discriminated against in terms of under-representation on boards (ie provide statistics if available) as that sets up later sections of your essay to highlight the different qualities of people of different kinds and how a richer combination of diverse skills, experiences and perspectives enhances corporate performance (using whatever criteria you have chosen in Section 2 to define board performance). It is, of course, important for you to mention potential weaknesses as well as potential benefits of diversity. I have not watched either of the movies you mention cite them if you would like to, but their significance will be lost to me!

The focus upon women may even be enough to fill 2500 words, without even moving onto age diversity, so do not feel afraid to focus the essay in that way if you have too many words. Then, in the section where you study the relationship between board diversity and board performance (which you will need to define), you can discuss the many published articles based upon a sample of x number of firms, with regression analysis of the relationship between indicators of diversity and financial performance, as well as some examples of companies where gender diversity has made a dramatic difference to the boards, (as opposed to a case study of individual female directors). Whichever way you go with these choices, so long as you outline the intended direction clearly in the introduction of your essay, you will be fine (I wont ask you to add more on age diversity if you outline that you intend to focus upon only gender diversity, or vice versa; but a mix of both topics is great so long as your commentary is sufficiently deep and not too shallow).

Diversity is an interesting theoretical topic, in that it can be considered from different ethical perspectives: perhaps it is more efficient or wealth-maximising to promote diversity, and/or perhaps it is a basic human rights issue. Such wider themes might provide a good background to the more specific themes you develop in your essay.

Your selection of research references is relatively brief, so I can offer two pieces of advice:

(a) for a third year essay, it is a reasonable expectation for you to be able to cite 15+ sources,
(b) make sure you go beyond the Mallin (2013) and other introductory-level textbooks to use primary sources and good quality peer-reviewed academic journal articles.

Possible literature of value may include the following (consider these as sources in their own right, but also as having excellent reference lists that will make your research easier):

Australian Government, Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee. (2009). Diversity on Boards of Directors

Australian Institute of Company Directors, Board Diversity page:

Brammer, S. Millington, A. & Pavelin, S. (2009) Corporate Reputation and Women on the Board. British Journal of Management, 20(1), 17-29.

Carter, D. A., Simkins, B. J. & Simpson, W. G. (2003) Corporate Governance, Board Diversity, and Firm Value. Financial Review, 38, 33-53.

Coffey, B.S., & Wang, J. (1998) Board Diversity and Managerial Control as Predictors of Corporate Social Performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 17(14), 1595-1603.

Erhardt, N.L., Werbel, J.D. & Shrader, C.B. (2003) Board of Director Diversity and Firm Financial Performance. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 11(2), 102-111.

Fairfax, L. M. (2005) The Bottom Line on Board Diversity: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Business Rationales for Diversity on Corporate Boards. Wisconsin Law Review, 795, 839-840.

Kang, H., Cheng, M. & S.J. Gray (2007) Corporate Governance and. Board Composition: Diversity and Independence of Australian. Boards. Corporate Governance: An International Review, 15 (2) 194-207.