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23 December 2010
A lack of diversity in terms of background and experience can harm the quality of decision-making on UK boards, according to a pair of economists.
Writing in the Financial Times, Diane Coyle and Bridget Rosewell claimed the nation's boardrooms are inherently "conformist" and full of directors who think in the same way as the chief executive and chairman.
They said the absence of women on the boards of top companies, as evidenced by the recent report from the Cranfield School of Management, is the result of this homogeneity.
Ms Coyle and Ms Rosewell cited a study by Scott Page, professor of political science and economics at the University of Michigan, which demonstrated how diversity can help groups to make better decisions.
"The difference in perspective is essential: finding diverse ways of looking at a problem will uncover the easiest way to solve it," they explained.
Ms Coyle is managing director of consultancy Enlightenment Economics and Ms Rosewell is chair of Volterra Consulting.
Published earlier this month, the Cranfield School of Management study found that female directors account for just 12.5 per cent of board positions at FTSE 100 companies.