Nearly a third of global businesses have non-representative management teams: Ernst & Young

Research shows that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams when managed properly

TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Most companies believe diverse teams and experience improve both the financial performance and the reputation of their organizations. Yet many struggle to put their beliefs into action, says Ernst & Young, named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers for 2011 for the fourth consecutive year.

Ernst & Young and the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed more than 1,000 global business executives in the new report Leading across borders and found that three out of 10 respondents have no representatives on their management team or board from outside their home country.

"Inclusiveness doesn't happen overnight," says Fiona Macfarlane, Chief Inclusiveness Officer at Ernst & Young. "That's something we're well aware of at Ernst & Young. Inclusiveness is a journey, not a one-time program, and being named one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers encourages us to stay on course. Simply having a diverse workforce isn't enough. Managing diversity by engaging and developing people within and across borders is quickly becoming one of the defining features of a great company."

One encouraging survey finding is that management diversity tends to increase in line with overseas sales growth. Among those companies that derive more than 10% of their revenues from other countries, just 22% say they have only home-country representatives on their management team.

According to Macfarlane, today's leaders must be able to adapt quickly to both an increasingly chaotic and opportunistic global business environment. Leaders must expect and embrace the friction caused by diverse viewpoints, rather than try to defuse it. This means modifying the old command-and-control style of leadership and actively pursuing a collaborative style.

Leading across borders outlines a new C-suite leadership agenda:

  • Think differently - Collaborate in the face of uncertainty. Let healthy conflict happen. The results are fresh ideas and, potentially, new products and services.
  • Learn differently - Seek out new cultures and experiences. Grasp the nuances of different cultures, and understand the actions that work best in various contexts and local markets.
  • Act differently - Sponsor and appoint rising stars who look, think and act differently. Embrace an active role as sponsor to young professionals. Act as advocate, supporter and defender of a rising star within the organization.

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

For more information, please visit

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.


For further information:

Brooke Morris  
604 899 3597   

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