What is it about?

This article examines whether firms' board gender diversity disclosures signal transparency, reveal impression management, or both. To disentangle the two disclosure motives further, we also investigate whether the disclosure clarity and tone are related to new women director appointments. Based on initial gender diversity disclosures of 506 Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) publicly traded firms, our results suggest that firms committed to enhancing board diversity provide clearer disclosures and exhibit a higher level of “optimism” to signal their confidence in the positive outcomes of diversity.

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Why is it important?

Our article explores the tension faced by firm managers between complying with requirements for transparent disclosures about gender diversity practices versus engaging in linguistic obfuscation tactics through verbal tone manipulation.

Perspectives

These findings contribute to the literature focusing on board gender diversity by revealing the self-serving bias in the disclosure narratives used by firms to signal their diversity performance and manage the impressions of stakeholders.

Bruce McConomy
Wilfrid Laurier University

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This page is a summary of: Disclosure transparency and impression management: A textual analysis of board gender diversity disclosures in Canada, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, March 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/csr.2267.
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