Board nationality and educational background diversity and corporate social performance

Maretno Agus Harjoto (Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California, USA)
Indrarini Laksmana (College of Business Administration, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA)
Ya wen Yang (School of Business, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Publication date: 1 April 2019



This paper aims to examine the relationship between the nationality and educational background diversity of directors serving on corporate boards and the firms’ corporate social performance (CSP).


This study measures nationality diversity by directors’ national citizenship and measures educational background diversity by countries from which they earned their undergraduate and post undergraduate degrees. It measures firms’ CSP using the MSCI ESG ratings. The study uses both univariate and multivariate analyses to empirically test the hypotheses.


Using a sample of US firms, the authors find that board nationality diversity and educational background diversity are positively associated with CSP. The findings suggest that improving director nationality diversity and educational background diversity could improve firms’ social performance.


This study shows that the increasing trend of foreign nationals in the US boards could shift the focus of US corporations to be more stakeholder-oriented.



The authors thank the Editor Gabriel Eweje, Associate Editor Maggie Foley, and four anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and recommendations. Harjoto acknowledges the Denney Professorship for the release time. Laksmana acknowledges the research funding provided by the College of Business Administration at Kent State University. Yang acknowledges the summer research grant provided by the School of Business at Wake Forest University.


Harjoto, M., Laksmana, I. and Yang, Y. (2019), "Board nationality and educational background diversity and corporate social performance", Corporate Governance, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 217-239.

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