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The Whiteboard: Decoupling of Diversity Reporting and Practice in Corporate Australia

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Diversity of company leadership is one of the most important governance issues currently faced by corporations around the globe, and yet the uneven treatment of diversity priorities remains a major challenge. Using a mixed-methods approach, we explore the extent and change over time of both gender and ethnic diversity in leadership, and diversity disclosure in company annual reports, for Australia’s largest firms (ASX100) between 2005 and 2020. We interpret our findings with institutional theory, comparing the institutional ismorphisms driving change in each organisational form, and examining the extent to which there is rhetorical decoupling between them. Our findings suggest a disconnect between public commitment to diversity and Indigenous engagement, and the practice of appointing non-white corporate leaders. A lack of regulation surrounding diversity reports has contributed to this uneven disclosure and practice, with different outcomes for gender and ethnic diversity the result of different institutional isomorphisms. These finding can inform policymakers and corporations, highlighting the importance of a range of institutional pressures for encouraging both disclosure and practice regarding ethnic diversity in corporate leadership.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Wright, C., Coretese, C., Mamun, A. A., & Ali, S. (2022, August 5). The Whiteboard: Decoupling of Diversity Reporting and Practice in Corporate Australia. In Academy of Management Vol. 2022. Seattle.

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


  • 2022

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • Diversity of company leadership is one of the most important governance issues currently faced by corporations around the globe, and yet the uneven treatment of diversity priorities remains a major challenge. Using a mixed-methods approach, we explore the extent and change over time of both gender and ethnic diversity in leadership, and diversity disclosure in company annual reports, for Australia’s largest firms (ASX100) between 2005 and 2020. We interpret our findings with institutional theory, comparing the institutional ismorphisms driving change in each organisational form, and examining the extent to which there is rhetorical decoupling between them. Our findings suggest a disconnect between public commitment to diversity and Indigenous engagement, and the practice of appointing non-white corporate leaders. A lack of regulation surrounding diversity reports has contributed to this uneven disclosure and practice, with different outcomes for gender and ethnic diversity the result of different institutional isomorphisms. These finding can inform policymakers and corporations, highlighting the importance of a range of institutional pressures for encouraging both disclosure and practice regarding ethnic diversity in corporate leadership.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Wright, C., Coretese, C., Mamun, A. A., & Ali, S. (2022, August 5). The Whiteboard: Decoupling of Diversity Reporting and Practice in Corporate Australia. In Academy of Management Vol. 2022. Seattle.

Web Of Science Accession Number


Volume


  • 2022

Issue


  • 1