••• dei research

While gender, racial and ethnic diversity bring value to U.S. companies, research from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business found that the presence of diverse educational, industrial and organizational experiences among managers and board members leads to R&D innovation that creates economic and social value.

The researchers reviewed a sample of more than 11,000 observations of 971 firms with one or more patent applications between 1996 and 2014. “We looked at [board members’] experiences and not just their demographic background – the more functional aspect of diversity. We looked at outcomes and found radical innovation when directors had more diverse experience, helping to guide firms toward more cutting-edge exploration and success,” says Aurora Genin, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship and co-author of the article “Board experiential diversity and corporate radical innovation” in Strategic Management Journal.

Further, corporate leadership that includes people from educational backgrounds other than business and finance might be less myopic when facing uncertainty. “Noting the benefits of diverse experiences in the boardroom, corporate executives can search beyond the traditional director pedigree (e.g., Ivy League-educated financiers), where female and minority individuals remain underrepresented,” Genin and her colleagues wrote. “In so doing, the firm can find more qualified candidates to assemble a demographically and intellectually diverse board, thus cultivating an inclusive corporate culture conducive to shareholder and stakeholder value creation.”

••• the business of research

Managers who disconnected from their jobs at home felt more refreshed the next day, identified as effective leaders and helped their employees stay on target better than bosses who spent their off hours worrying about work, according to the study, “The impo...