Hi Henry, thanks for your response. First, the research doesn't demonstrate that "diversity for diversity's sake" does any damage to board performance. But there are positive performance outcomes on a number of levels when diversity is strong in management (creatively, productivity, profits, turnover rates, etc.). For boards, the research has been focused on gender diversity, but I'm keen to see more done around other markers of diversity (the numbers are low, but growing). Neither does more diversity damage the supply chain and most Fortune 500 companies currently employ supplier diversity initiatives. But, it's true, hiring for diversity's sake - tokenism, checking the box - won't work if a company/board/etc. doesn't focus on inclusion and lacks a company culture around it. It won't matter who or which company has been selected if people can't be treated with respect or feel confident their voices will be listened to.
Second, the argument that you should be finding and choosing the "best" suppliers, board members, job candidates, etc. is a trap. Actually, it's called the "merit trap", as merit is usually defined as "people like us". Typically, those that rise in a company already have access - meritocracy is not yet a true reality. The "best" may be inadvertently filtered out by bias in the first place, and initiatives around diversity and inclusion in hiring, for example, are a way to bring people in who have been excluded. Studies show that there is inherent bias in hiring - take away any gender demarcations and the rate of selection of women increases. Even how a job description is worded can keep some people from applying. Companies are missing out on large groups of "the best" because they don't do the work to outreach and make efforts to be more inclusive in their recruitment and hiring practices.