The impact of board diversity on strategic change: a stakeholder perspective

  • Laura Padilla-AnguloEmail author


This article uses the US freight railroads, which underwent enforced restructuring due to increased competition following deregulation, to study the impact of board diversity on strategic change, where board diversity is measured from a stakeholder perspective. CEO human capital is also taken into account. By analyzing with panel data methodology a sample including 15 US Class I railroads covering a 20-year period from 1984 to 2004 and representing more than 90% of the railroad market, with a total of 190 observations, we find that strategic decisions are significantly influenced by both board composition and CEO human capital, but that boards exercise more influence in determining firms strategies. We find significant differences in the way directors influence restructuring decisions depending on their stakeholder status. Results indicate the importance of including measures of board composition reflecting diversity of interests in board research.


Defensive and strategic restructuring Corporate governance Board diversity CEO characteristics Panel data Stakeholders 



I thank Marco Becht, Guido Friebel, Gerard McCullough, Alban Thomas, César Tenreiro and participants of the 26st Annual Congress of the European Economic Association (EEA), First Annual Corporate Entrepreneurship Workshop in EM Lyon Business School, 10th Annual Meeting European Economics and Finance Society (EEFS) and 10ème Conférence Internationale de Gouvernance à Montréal for helpful comments. I also thank two anonymous referees for their helpful comments that helped improve the quality of the article. All errors are mine. This project received financial support from a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher Fellowship of the European Corporate Governance Training Network during a research stage at the European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics DepartmentUniversidad LoyolaDos Hermanas, SevillaSpain

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