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Corporate boards miss out when they don’t include women

Shirley Leung, Business Columnist for The Boston Globe has written extensively—and frequently—about the dearth of women on corporate boards. In her piece, “Across Health Care Board Rooms, That’s Madam Chairman to You,” she discusses the growing role of women on health care boards (nearly a third of Massachusetts-based hospitals have a woman running the board for the first time) and she compares the trend to the fact that only three percent of Fortune 500 companies have female board chairs.

In an earlier column from October 2013, Leung’s headline proclaims, “It’s not hard to get women on the board.” Leung cites local Massachusetts-based companies Akamai, EMC, iRobot, and Constant Contact as each having at least two women on their boards, which, Leung points out, “is a better track record than most Fortune 500 companies.” But it’s not all good news: “In Massachusetts, tech firms are among the least diverse with nearly a dozen categorized as ‘zero-zero’—having zero women in top management and zero women on their boards.”

MIT Sloan Professor Thomas Malone, who is the head of the MIT Sloan School of Management’s Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), could easily argue that corporations are missing out on tremendous opportunities when they lack women on boards and in other senior leadership roles. Why? Simply put, Malone’s research shows that the collective intelligence of a group rises when there are women involved in that group.  Continue reading