Title

Exploring the influences of gender diversity in global healthcare organisations

Author Identifiers

Kylie de Klerk

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8590-4751

Date of Award

2022

Degree Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Medical Science by Research

School

School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Advisor

Favil Singh

Second Advisor

Rashid Zaman

Abstract

Global healthcare organisations play a fundamental role in addressing the healthcare needs of local and global communities. Such organisations are capital intensive with stringent legal, logistics and reporting requirements that are distinct from traditional industries. The highly regulated nature of the healthcare sector means it is under constant scrutiny for health, safety and ethical compliance risks by federal regulatory bodies. In this manner, the composition of the healthcare sector, particularly diversity, is an antecedent to effective medical healthcare management, from resources and information sharing to operationalising governance objectives and achieving organisational performance. However, despite diversity importance for the healthcare sector due to its distinct characteristics (i.e., capital intensive with stringent legal, logistics and reporting requirements), the research in this area remains fragmented – resulting in a lack of understanding of prevailing diversity practices across this sector. Similarly, despite the global surge in corporate sustainability practices across businesses, healthcare companies have received the highest number of fines for their irresponsible practices (Zaman et al., 2021). Such gross violations have manifested significant questions to the prevailing corporate governance practices of these companies. Keeping such literature void abreast, this thesis answers two important research questions. Firstly, this thesis mapped the existing diversity practices and propose a novel framework for diversity management in global healthcare organisations. Secondly, it also examines the extent and consequences of boardroom gender diversity on the sustainability performance of companies operating in the healthcare sector. The results indicate a low level of women board representation and sustainability performance in the healthcare organisation. Further, despite the global push for gender diversity and sustainable business practices, there remains a minuscule change in such practice over the sample period. The results also suggest that a meaningful representation (there or more women on board) of women directors on board of healthcare organisations significantly improves their sustainability performance. The findings of this thesis have important policy implication as it serves to inform global healthcare organisational policy concerning diversity management practices, and board gender diversity policies.

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