School of Business Professor Mary Jane Lenard presented a paper on March 5, 2016 at the Forensic Accounting Research Conference, held in Charlotte, N.C. The paper, “Women Leaders and Fraud: Are Companies Led by Women Less Likely to be Subject to Litigation?,” is co-authored by Associate Professor of Economics Anne York and Associate Professor of Business Bing Yu, and by Shengxiong Wu from Texas Wesleyan University. In the paper, they collected companies listed on the Stanford securities class action database for the time period 2007-13, classified them as fraud companies, and compared these to non-fraud companies.
The researchers then examined the companies based on the presence of at least one women in an executive position, and on the presence of at least one woman on the board of directors. They found that each of these situations decreases the likelihood that the company will be involved in fraud litigation, supporting the literature which indicates that women have the tendency to be more risk averse and more committed to ethics policies.
In further testing, they found that the presence of at least one woman in an executive position is positively related to firm value. These findings add to the literature that investigates the impact of women leaders on corporate governance.