Board Composition, Sustainability and Fim Performance : A Nordics-Oriented Quantitative Study on a Global Trend
Sammanfattning: The issues surrounding sustainability continues to be at the forefront of the human agenda and firms are increasingly being held accountable by their stakeholders to assist in bringing about sustainability. Despite this, there is a tension surrounding the role of firms and the benefits implementing sustainability practices and policies has for these actors. On the one hand, being sustainable underpinned by a strong CSR-oriented governance board with the right compositional factors results in superior firm performance. On the other hand, sustainability is suggested to increase costs and reduced competitiveness thereby reducing firm performance. These contrasting results supported by mixed scholarly findings concerning different mediating factors influencing the overarching relationship creates a confusion gap that warrants this current study. As such, the study’s purpose is to investigate the relationship between two distinct yet interrelated relationships, the impact of board of directors’ composition on CSR performance measured by ESG scores and the impact of CSR performance on firm performance so as to contribute to the debate on these notion that continues to plague academia and the pragmatic world. This study is realized through a quantitative archival-longitudinal study design underpinned by metaphysical assumptions. Regression analyses using panel data on a sample of 123 listed companies headquartered in the Nordic Countries for the period 2010-2018 is undertaken to analyze the potential relation between CSR performance and five board composition factors, specially the gender diversity, independence, size, frequency of meetings and the presence of CSR committee. The association between CSR performance and firm performance is investigated in a similar way. Under rigorous statistical testing and analysis, the results indicate that there potentially is a relation between board composition and firms’ ESG performance. The results derived from the relationship between CSR and firm performance is inconsistent and cannot be fully accepted. This study contributes theoretically to CSR, corporate governance and finance literature by expanding upon how these three notions are linked in light of the sustainability trend that is gripping modern society. Socially, this research is useful for providing empirical evidence on the value of strong governance structures so as to foster sustainability and encourage debate on its value. Pragmatically, our study suggests what board composition factors are most conducive for supporting CSR that may assist firms’ corporate governance structuring and focus.
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