While most firms serve a diverse population, many have no minorities or women serving as Members on their board. Boards are disadvantaged when their composition fails to align with Their employee population or the stakeholder groups they serve; they are neglecting the Contributions of women and minorities as their voices are unheard. The purpose of this multiple Case comparison study builds on current boardroom diversity and board effectiveness research by Exploring how the unique human and social capital contributions of women and minority board Members increase the boards’ capabilities and impact board governance. I qualitatively examined Six boards of varied demographic diversity, systematically analyzing data from multiple sources Including board member interviews, on-site observations of the board meeting interactions, and Archival examination of annual reports to understand performance. The findings revealed the Diverse board members human and social capital coupled with their contribution of learned Strategies and unique interactions resulted in a positive influence on both the board and firm Effectiveness. Based on my findings I developed the Optimal Imperviousness Theory to speak to Strategies that are deployed by women and minority members as coping mechanisms in their Interactions with the dominate culture. Additionally, a Board Competency Matrix was created for Those charged with diversifying boards and a communication process that is captured with the Acronym ‘STUDS’ can be used to guide future research and practice.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Corporate governance; Social capital (Sociology); Boards of directors

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Cristina Gibson