Female leaders and board performance in member‐serving nonprofit organizations

Source: Lauren Dula, Jill Nicholson‐Crotty, Beth Gazley, Volume 30, Issue 4, Summer 2020
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From the abstract:
Despite an active stream of “good governance” research, there is not yet much nonprofit scholarship examining how the gender composition of a board or its leadership relates to board performance. This article helps to fill this gap, focusing on the governance practices of US‐based nonprofits serving a domestic or international membership. A structural equation model finds that the presence of female leaders relates to the performance of nonprofit boards both directly and indirectly through these leaders’ presumed influence on board characteristics and operation. This research advances the field by empirically testing a longstanding theory that board performance is both multidimensional and contingent on the market and labor environment, organizational capacity and other characteristics—in this case, gender dynamics. We find there are some positive relationships between female board leadership and clearly defined measures of board performance. These findings also suggest that a strategy to balance a board’s gender may serve many nonprofits, but gender representation works in tandem with other board characteristics.