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Diversity & Associations

A two-way street

Many studies of well-reputed universities and consultancy firms have been written on the advantages of having a diverse board. According to these studies, including people of different age, race, gender, culture and professional and socio-economic backgrounds in a workplace brings different perspectives and increases creativity, productivity and innovation, which overall allow any company or association to grow and be more successful.

The predicament of these studies is easy: one of the keys for an innovative board is diversity. But what does it mean to have a diverse doard? Diversity is usually interpreted as being linked to factors mentioned above, but its deep meaning is to create boards where people with very unique characteristics bring new opinions, ideas and perspectives to the table, which leads to a change in the dynamic of the board.

If an increase in diversity at board level contributes to creating a stimulating debate, this, however, makes the functioning of the board less smooth and more "challenging." Indeed, an even board would make decisions in a very efficient manner since its members would easily agree with each other. In a board composed of individuals who are very diverse, points that need to be discussed might stimulate a range of viewpoints that will have to be taken into account before any decision can be made.

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