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Alain Berger

DBA Graduate - 2017

Thesis title

The influence of board diversity on sustainability, environmental and social disclosure

Supervisor(s)

Pablo Collazzo

Alain is a management and finance professional, who has been teaching in various business schools since 2010. After graduating with his BBA, he worked with multinational and local companies in both financial management and investment finance. His DBA is in the areas of sustainability, diversity, and corporate governance. Alain also earned an MBA in 1997 and is a CFA charter holder since 2001.

This paper presents a study investigating the relationship between corporate board diversity and sustainability disclosure. It investigates diversity under two different types, variety and separation. Diversity as variety assumes that each group member adds its own experience and point of view in a discussion, while diversity as separation assumes that each group member may have fundamentally different values and opinions. This latter type of diversity could potentially lead to misunderstanding and conflicts. This analysis is conducted on a sample of Swiss listed companies and uses, among others, diversity and cultural variables which are tested against sustainability disclosure. To measure sustainability disclosure, it uses specific content indexes previously developed by academic scholars. This analysis suggests that cultural variables and cultural dimensions could be used to determine an optimal level of diversity within a group, ensuring a level of diversity which provides greater creativity, innovation and increased decision quality, however without compromising on fundamental values, beliefs and attitudes of group members. Keywords: board diversity, cultural diversity, sustainability disclosure, corporate social responsibility, voluntary disclosure