Do Women in Top Management Affect Firms’ Environmental, Social and Governance Performance? A Pilot Study of Firms in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana

In recent years, gender diversity has gained considerable attention from regulatory institutions and academics. Available literature on gender diversity in corporate governance is indicative of its positive influential role on a range of factors which influence the governance, social and environmental outcomes of firms. However, available evidence on the implications largely focus on experiences from US and European firms, which may not be pertinent to African countries due to differences in cultures, demographics, institutional quality, regulation and economic development. This pilot project broadly seeks to empirically investigate whether female top executives and women in managerial roles have any significant effect on the environmental, social and governance performance of firms in Ghana. The specific objectives of the study include 1) to examine gender differences in values and attitudes at the corporate leadership level; 2) to investigate whether women on the board of directors increases the firm’s environmental performance; 3) to determine the effect of gender diversity on firm’s social performance; 4) to assess the effect of gender diversity on firm’s governance performance; 5) to assess whether the presence of female independent directors rather than female executive directors increase firms’ environmental performance.

This project will focus on firms in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana and will utilise the 2015 Integrated Business Enterprise Survey (IBES), which has data on 600,000 firms in the country. The survey collected information on several indicators such as sex of firm ownership, the form of organisation and sector of operation. The research team will leverage on the sampling frame of the IBES and ongoing collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service to conduct new surveys to address the objectives of the proposed study. Retrospective and prospective information will be collected on approximately 576 firms and their managerial staff.

The proposed study will illuminate knowledge on gender diversity in corporate governance at the firm level in the context of African economies, and would aid in adjudging the scalability of this pilot to the remaining administrative regions beside the Greater Accra Region. Given the limited firm-level governance and performance data available for most firms in Africa, this project will provide for the first time a comprehensive new database of gender diversity of corporate boardrooms, environmental, social, and accounting outcomes for a sample of firms from the Ghana 2015 Integrated Business Enterprise Survey (IBES). Additionally, the project will provide a first-time comprehensive database on top management attributes and characteristics to capture CEO's cultural background, education, marriage and social life, past employment, among other factors for the sampled firms.



Godwin Arku

University of Western Ontario

Samuel Kobina Annim

University of Cape Coast

Raymond Kofinti

University of Cape Coast