Effects of Board Nationality and Ethnic Diversity on the Financial Performance of Listed Firms in Nigeria

Effects of Board Nationality and Ethnic Diversity on the Financial Performance of Listed Firms in Nigeria

Effects of Board Nationality and Ethnic Diversity on the Financial Performance of Listed Firms in Nigeria


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Abstract on Effects of Board Nationality and Ethnic Diversity on the Financial Performance of Listed Firms in Nigeria

This study examined the effect of board nationality and ethnic diversity on firms’ performance in the Nigeria stock exchange. With the aim of investigating the level of influence ethnic diversity and board nationality would affect firm performance in terms of profitability and growth in a developing economy, the study made use of ROA, ROE and Tobin’s Q for financial measures. The study analysed date from 60 non-financial firms with periodic observations from 2012-2015 using the ordinary least squares regression method. Yemeni formula was used to calculate the sample size out of the remainder 119 listed non-financial after 57 listed firms from the financial sector were removed. The total sample size was further streamlined to 60 based on a common reporting period (January 1st to December 31st) to ensure consistency. The Findings indicate that ethnic diversity and board nationality has no significant influence on the performance level of firms in both profitability (ROA and ROE) and growth (Tobin’s Q). Findings also reveal that the average board size of the listed non financial firms in Nigeria meets the countries corporate governance requirement of nine (9) members and the average board has a combination of at least two of the three ethnic groups in Nigeria. The board composition of sampled firms still reveals the presence of family members in same board which is against the central board composition code of corporate governance. This study encourages a diverse board since there is no significant effect on financial based performance; it is still advisable to be diverse except cost outweighs benefits. Diversity always tends to have effects on the way the board members make a decision, or strategic moves. It sets a control, brings innovation and could also slow down the rate of decision making.
Key words: Ethnic diversity, Board nationality, financial performance, Corporate Governance


Chapter One of Effects of Board Nationality and Ethnic Diversity on the Financial Performance of Listed Firms in Nigeria



Board diversity in corporate governance structure is beginning to be of growing importance when it comes to the interest of shareholders and firm performance nowadays. With evidence shown from notable studies from, (Erhardt, Werbek & Shrader, 2003; Lee & Far, 2004; Bergen
&   Massey, 2005; Robertson & parker, 2007: Adams and Ferreira, 2007; Harris and Raviv, 2008; Ferreira, 2010). Recently, scholars like: (Marimuthu, 2011; Darmadi, 2011; Omoye, Alade, & Eriki, 2013; Cimerovaa, Dodda, & Frijnsa, 2014), and much more have also investigated board diversity and its effects to an entity. There is an accelerated focus on the study of board composition: board independence; board size and board diversity, (Carter, Simikins & Simpson, 2003; Erhardt, Werbek & Shrader, 2003; Garba & Abubakar, 2014 & Heyvon, 2014).
The promotion of diversity in the board has been a frequent subject of recent in literature due to the potential benefits from having a wealth of different individual quality and experience on in a single board. Hambick & Mason, (1984), observed that management heterogeneity has a greater tendency to bring about quality decision making. Similarly, with Hambick and Mason, Other studies such as that of Wiersema & Bantel (1992); Watson, Kumar, & Michaelsen, (1993); Cox, (1993) has also spelt out the importance of corporate board diversity. The work of Adams & Ferreira, (2009) in particular highlighted the potential benefits of corporate board diversity to a firm as it brings about: Creativity, variety of views and perspectives; more resource accessibility and more connections; Public relations, legitimacy and investor relations and finally career incentives through mentoring and signaling.
Carter, D’souza, Simkins, & Simpson (2007) looked into Fortune 500 board narrowing their scope by using gender and racial diversity between the year 1998-2002 and they observed that gender and racial diversity have positive effects on firms’ performance. However, various forms of diversity, such as race, sex, age, and ethnicity could result in tension, conflict, and hinder corporation and affect communication thereby reducing firm’s performance. This satisfies the definition of Ferreira, (2010) that a corporate board of a firm is viewed as the composition of separate individuals who are controlled by different bias and varying preconceived notions and are affected by social constraint & power relation. Diversity in culture is the representation of people of distinct groups of affiliation in one social system, Cox, (1993). These definitions have been reflective in the empirical work of Darmadi (2011) who investigated listed firms in Indonesia stock exchange between the diversity of the board and financial performance of the firms. In his study, he selected three elements of diversity which are gender, nationality, and age, using 169 listed firms and discovered that there was no influence of diversity on firm’s performance. Also, Cultural Heterogeneity may have also resulted in conflicts which have enhanced the performance of an organization; it is linked positively with better problem-solving options, Omoye, Alade, & Eriki (2013).


Several countries such as Norway (since 2006, 40% of the board are female), Spain, Iceland, France, Singapore and Malaysia (30% of the board are female) have succeeded in passing a regulation for a specific quota of female in board, Adam & Ferreira, (2009); Ahern & Dittmer, (2012); Heyvon, (2014), of which many countries are yet to implement their percentage quota. Nevertheless, certain aspects of diversity (apart from gender) such as ethnic, racial, education, Industrial background seem neglected in determining board composition. The central thought should be, is there a perfect prescription as pertaining to the diversity in corporate board? Authors such as Metz & Harzing, (2009); Marimuthu & Kolandaisamy, (2009); Matlala, (2011); have laid emphasis on the importance of female directors and their positive effect on performance and earnings. The term board diversity cuts across so many variables such as age, race, gender, culture, religion, the level of education and background experience Swartz & Firer, (2005); Ferreira (2010); Kulkarni, (2012).

In view against corporate failures in all over the world, countries have been taking critical steps to ensure prevention of future occurrences, and one of such measure is diversity in board of corporate firms. These steps/measures were taken to strengthen corporate governance in firms, especially those listed. One of such actions was CEO duality brought into recognition, separating the role of a chairman from that of a typical CEO. The separation of the responsibilities of CEO from Chairman of a board, executives, non-executive, and independent non-executive directors are forms of diversity. Walker, (2007) review was based on board size and Composition in FTSE 100 and UK banks and a prescribed 50% independent directors rule was proposed.




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