Public Release: 

Gender diversity in the boardroom key for LGBT friendly firms

SAGE

London, UK (February 4, 2016). Diversity in the boardroom is key to advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)- inclusive polices, finds a study published by SAGE in the journal Human Relations, in partnership with The Tavistock Institute.

Evidence suggests that discrimination, homophobia and workplace hostility limit the employment prospects and career mobility of LGBT individuals. In order to recruit, hire and retain the most talented and skilled workers - irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity - firms have begun adopting and implementing policies aimed at building an inclusive workplace.

Such policies benefit not only LGBT individuals but companies themselves, including improved stock performance and higher rates of productivity and worker commitment. Yet while many companies have adopted these polices, many others have not.

By analyzing the policies of all Fortune 500 firms over a 10-year period the researchers found that: "while women CEOs are vital for advancing a company's commitment to domestic partnership benefits and gender identity non-discrimination polices, diverse boards are associated with the full range of LGBT-inclusive policies and practices."

"Indeed the most important factor in predicting whether or not a company adopts inclusive policies is board diversity. Firms with a higher percentage of women on the board and those with influential women board members are more likely than other firms to adopt a broad range of LGBT- friendly policies and practices", they continued.

The study also found that interlinks between boards was a vital source of innovation, facilitating the diffusion of LGBT- friendly policies as members pass information across the field.

Alison Cook, Associate Professor at Utah State University, commented:

"Our study is important because it shows that leadership diversity can significantly influence a company' likelihood of adopting inclusive polices. Gender diversity in the boardroom is key; women directors increase a company's commitment to equity and fairness and advance firms' strategic goals. Companies committed to these outcomes can focus on increasing diversity among top leaders, including CEOs and board directors."

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For a copy of the article, "Do women advance equity? The effect of gender leadership composition on LGBT- friendly policies in American firms", by Alison Cook and Christy Glass, published in in Human Relations, please contact mollie.broad@sagepub.co.uk.

Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 900 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company's continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC and Melbourne. http://www.sagepublishing.com

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) applies social science to contemporary issues and problems. It was established as a not for profit organization with charitable purpose in 1947, and that same year founded Human Relations with the Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT. The Institute is engaged with evaluation and action research, organisational development and change consultancy, executive coaching and professional development, all in service of supporting sustainable change and ongoing learning. http://www.tavinstitute.org/

Human Relations is an international peer reviewed journal, which publishes the highest quality original research to advance our understanding of social relationships at and around work. Human Relations encourages strong empirical contributions that develop and extend theory as well as more conceptual papers that integrate, critique and expand existing theory. Human Relations also welcomes critical reviews that genuinely advance our understanding of the connections between management, organizations and interdisciplinary social sciences and critical essays that address contemporary scholarly issues and debates within the journal's scope. http://hum.sagepub.com/

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