St. Petersburg University
Graduate School of Management
Master in Management Program
HUMAN CAPITAL OF FOREIGN MEMBERS OF BOARD
OF DIRECTORS AND COMPANY FINANCIAL
PERFORMANCE: RUSSIAN EVIDENCE
Master’s Thesis by the 2nd year student:
Associate Professor, Tatiana A. Garanina
ЗАЯВЛЕНИЕ О САМОСТОЯТЕЛЬНОМ ХАРАКТЕРЕ ВЫПОЛНЕНИЯ
ВЫПУСКНОЙ КВАЛИФИКАЦИОННОЙ РАБОТЫ
Я, Козлова Анастасия Александровна, студентка второго курса магистратуры
направления «Менеджмент», заявляю, что в моей магистерской диссертации на тему
«Человеческий капитал иностранных членов совета директоров и финансовые показатели
деятельности компании: российский опыт», представленной в службу обеспечения
программ магистратуры для последующей передачи в государственную аттестационную
комиссию для публичной защиты, не содержится элементов плагиата.
Все прямые заимствования из печатных и электронных источников, а также из
защищенных ранее выпускных квалификационных работ, кандидатских и докторских
диссертаций имеют соответствующие ссылки.
Мне известно содержание п. 9.7.1 Правил обучения по основным образовательным
программам высшего и среднего профессионального образования в СПбГУ о том, что
«ВКР выполняется индивидуально каждым студентом под руководством назначенного ему
научного руководителя», и п. 51 Устава федерального государственного бюджетного
образовательного учреждения высшего образования «Санкт-Петербургский
государственный университет» о том, что «студент подлежит отчислению из СанктПетербургского университета за представление курсовой или выпускной
квалификационной работы, выполненной другим лицом (лицами)».
_______________________________________________ (Подпись студента)
STATEMENT ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT CHARACTER OF
THE MASTER THESIS
I, Kozlova Anastasiia Aleksandrovna, second year master student, program
«Management», state that my master thesis on the topic « Human capital of foreign members of
board of directors and company financial performance: Russian evidence», which is presented to
the Master Office to be submitted to the Official Defense Committee for the public defense, does
not contain any elements of plagiarism.
All direct borrowings from printed and electronic sources, as well as from master theses,
PhD and doctorate theses which were defended earlier, have appropriate references.
I am aware that according to paragraph 9.7.1. of Guidelines for instruction in major
curriculum programs of higher and secondary professional education at St.Petersburg University
«A master thesis must be completed by each of the degree candidates individually under the
supervision of his or her advisor», and according to paragraph 51 of Charter of the Federal State
Institution of Higher Education Saint-Petersburg State University «a student can be expelled
from St.Petersburg University for submitting of the course or graduation qualification work
developed by other person (persons)».
Название магистерской диссертации
Козлова Анастасия Александровна
Человеческий капитал иностранных
членов совета директоров и финансовые
показатели деятельности компании:
Высшая школа менеджмента
Гаранина Татьяна Александровна
Описание цели, задач и о сновных Цель данного исследования – выявление
в з а и м о с в я з и м е ж д у ч е л о в еч е с к и м
капиталом иностранных членов совета
директоров российских акционерных
обществ и финансовой результативностью
Для достижения цели были
сформулированы и выполнены следующие
- изучение специфики корпоративного
управления в российских компаниях;
- изучение существующих исследований
взаимосвязи интеллектуального капитала
членов совета директоров и результатов
- разработка регрессионной модели для
тестирования сформулированных гипотез;
- сбор необходимых данных и проведение
- ф о рм ул и р о в а н и е п р а кт и ч е с к и х
рекомендаций, основанных на результатах
В ходе исследования был получен
следующий результат: человеческий
капитал иностранных членов совета
директоров позитивно взаимосвязан с
рыночной стоимостью компании, но не
вз аимо связ ан с бухга лт ерск ими
показателями ее деятельно сти
(рентабельностью активов (ROA)
Человеческий капитал, совет директоров,
финансовые показатели деятельности
компании, иностранные члены совета
Master Student’s Name
Master Thesis Title
Anastasiia A. kozlova
Human capital of foreign members of board
of directors and company financial
performance: Russian evidence
Graduate School of Management
Academic Advisor’s Name
Tatiana A. Garanina
Description of the goal, tasks and main results The goal of this study is to define relationship
between human capital of foreign board
members and financial performance of
Russian joint-stock companies
The main objectives of the study are the
to study the specifics of corporate
governance in Russia;
to conduct literature review on the topic
of the role of intellectual capital of board
of directors in company’s performance;
to develop the regression model for
testing the developed hypotheses;
to gather necessary data and to conduct
to develop managerial implications of the
The result of this study is following: there is
a positive relationship between human
capital of foreign board members and
company's market value, and no relationship
between human capital of foreign board
members and accounting indicator, such as
return on assets (ROA)
Human capital, board of directors, financial
performance, foreign board membership
Table of contents
1.HUMAN CAPITAL OF FOREIGN BOARD MEMBERS..........................................................9
1.1Specifics of board of directors in Russia................................................................................ 9
1.2 Intellectual capital: definition and characteristics............................................................... 13
1.3 Intellectual capital of board of directors..............................................................................16
1.4 Human capital as a major component of intellectual capital...............................................17
1.5 Influence of human capital on organizational performance................................................ 20
1.6 Influence of human capital of company's board on its performance...................................23
1.7 Human capital measurement indicators...............................................................................24
2. HUMAN CAPITAL OF FOREIGN BOARD MEMBERS AND COMPANY FINANCIAL
PERFORMANCE – EMPIRICAL STUDY..................................................................................30
2.1 Research strategy and hypothesis formulation.................................................................... 30
2.2 Sample description and research design..............................................................................36
2.3 Descriptive statistics............................................................................................................ 38
2.4 Regression analysis............................................................................................................. 43
Appendix 1. Dependent and control variables.............................................................................. 53
Appendix 2. Human capital characteristics................................................................................... 55
Board of directors is perceived to be a major link between the shareholders and the
management of a company (Bodie & Merton, 2009). It acts as an instrument of corporate
governance that receives the insider information and transfers it to external stakeholders.
Thereby, it becomes crucial for board members to objectively represent interest of all the
stakeholders and to take the decisions that are mostly beneficial for company as a whole. In order
to do this, board members should be educated, experienced, ethical and skilled. The influence of
personal characteristics of company's board members on their decisions and firm performance as
a result of decisions made is becoming more debatable among researchers (Hermalin &
Weisbach, 1991). Surveys' results showed that a company's value and investors opinions on it
strongly depend on the quality of control and decision-making process undertaken by board
members (Shleifer & Vishy, 1997) and that investors are ready to pay a premium to a company
that is better-governed than its rivals (McKinsey & Company, 2000).
There are studies that investigate the relatioship between specific characteristics of
company’s board of directors with its performance. Thus, it was proven that there is a
relationship between a board size of a firm and its financial results (Yermack, 1996). The
existence of correlation between political connections of board members and company
performance was also proven by a group of researchers (Faccio, 2006; Bertrand, 2004). It was
also claimed that there is a correlation between a bord size and company’s market attractiveness
measured by Tobin’s Q ratio (Berezinets, Ilyina and Cherkasskaja, 2013).
Therefore, the relevance of the topic of this paper is explained by existing interest to the
problem of board characteristics and their influence on company performance among scholars
and practitioners. As for specific studies exploring the relationship between foreign board
membership and firm's value, there were such studies conducted for Korea (Mi Choi & Sul &
Kee Min, 2012), Sweden and Norway (Oxelheim & Randøy, 2003), but there are no publications
about Russia so far. Due to the fact, that a share of foreigners in board of directors of Russian
companies is constantly increasing (Bauer & Shvyrkov & Reukova, 2012), it is important to
investigate the influence of them on overall company value.
The goal of the study is to define relationship between human capital of foreign board
members and financial performance of russian joint-stock companies. This study attempted to
define the contribution of a group of specific characteristics of foreign board members to a firm’s
value. In order to achieve the goal, several human capital indicators of foreign board members
and their relationship with a firm’s financial performance expressed by market capitalization and
retirn on assets (ROA) were studied.
In order to achieve the main goal, the following research objectives were set:
to study the specifics of corporate governance in Russia;
to conduct literature review on the topic of the role of intellectual capital of board
of directors in company’s performance;
to develop the regression model for testing the developed hypotheses;
to gather necessary data and to conduct empirical study;
to develop managerial implications of the obtained results.
The subject of the study is the relation between human capital characteristics of foreign
board members of Russian companies and their financial results.
Methodology of the study consists of applying multivariable linear regression model to
the sample of Russian joint-stock companies with foreign board membership. The set of
independent variables remains the same, while ROA and company’s market capitalization act as
Expected result is to find out that human capital of foreigners in board of directors is
positively related to inancial results of russian joint-stock companies. Positive relation is
expected to be identified between accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree, tenure, industry and
diversified working experiences of foreign members of board of directors and company ROA
and market capitalization as dependent variables. All regression coefficients are expected to stay
statistically significant and of the same sign regardless of the dependent variable used. However,
if the opposite is found, it can be seen as a valuable evidence of no need for Russian companies
to actively attract foreigners as assurers of higher value of a company.
The thesis consists of two chapters: theoretical background and empirical study. The first
section is devoted to the introduction to concepts of intellectual and human capital, specifics of
corporate governance in Russia and analysis of existing studies about correlation between board
of directors’ characteristics and company's performance. The second chapter of the paper begins
with hypothesis formulation, explanation of methodology and data collection process. Then, the
resulting sample is analyzed and regression analysis is conducted. The paper is concluded with
discussion of the findings, their theoretical and managerial implications and suggestions for
The outcomes of this study can be of value for both practitioners and researchers.
Moreover, it will generate an opportunity to develop managerial implications based on the
estimated results and conclusions from the research, providing recommendations to companies
with regard to the issues of board structure. The theoretical contribution of the study is to link
characteristics of foreign members of board of directors to the financial performance results of
Russian joint-stock companies - the issue that is not investigated so far. Practical implications of
the research are expected to provide shareholders with precious information and evidence on the
statistically significant relationship between human capital of foreign board members and
financial results of Russian companies. The information can be used by directors and
shareholders while taking strategically important managerial decisions.
1. HUMAN CAPITAL OF FOREIGN BOARD MEMBERS
There is a large number of factors that are influencing a firm’s performance. Company’s
assets are perceived to increase its value and to add competitive advantages. As far as all the
assets are classified as tangible and intangible ones, intellectual capital as a group of intangible
assets is also a value creation instrument for firm and its stakeholders. Company’s intellectual
capital is generated not only by employees, but also by board of directors. While using their
knowledge, experience and skills, board members are forming intellectual capital that can be
used while generating a firm’s value.
There are three main elements of intellectual capital: relational capital that is defined as a
scope of connections and access to resources that were obtained through network relationships,
structural capital that includes intellectual assets such as patents, know-how, hardware and
databases and human capital, representing a group of specific knowledge and skills obtained by
board members through education and work experience (Hilman and Daziel, 2003). Structural
capital is not applicable for characterizing people, while two other elements are personal
characteristics. Nevertheless, they differ from each other in terms of the sources: human capital
refers to special knowledge that were received on personal or individual level through education,
whereas a relational capital refers to access to special sources through personal interactions
Due to the fact, that a company’s board of directors including the general manager or
CEO is usually responsible for the whole business strategy, it is important to appoint the most
qualified and experienced professionals to handle those issues. Therefore, it is quite common for
Russian companies to assign foreigners as board members due to the higher qualification and
experience of those professionals. According to the study conducted by Deloitte in 2012, it
becomes more common for Russian joint-stock companies to attract foreigners as board
members. The average amount of foreigners in boards reached an average European figure of
24% and it is continuing to grow (Bauer, Shvyrkov and Reukova, 2012). Therefore, a human
capital of foreign board members (as one of the two fundamental elements of intellectual capital)
possibly has an influence on an overall company performance.
1.1 Specifics of board of directors in Russia
Board of directors is a central governance body that is managing all company’s activities.
According to the federal law of Russian Federation “About joint stock companies”, it is
necessary to form a board of directors only if the amount of shareholders with voting rights is
more than fifty. Board members are elected annually on the annual stockholders meeting through
vote. There are no limitations regarding the number of times a person can be elected as a board
member. Nevertheless, a board member can become only a private person, even if she/he is not a
shareholder. A board’s size is determined by shareholders, but it should account for no less than 5
persons and it should be an odd number. In corporations that issue more than one thousand
voting shares, a board size should account for at least seven members, for those with more than
ten thousand voting shares – for at least nine directors.
In case when company’s shareholders need to increase a number of directors in the board,
it is feasible to vote for additional members that will join it. As for the chairman and his/her
deputy, both persons are elected by board members. Reelection can be organized at any time and
it is accomplished by board members vote either. In order to accept the voting results, at least
half of the total number of board members should take part in elections. Moreover, a session
should be organized at least once per month. Company’s ongoing activities are managed by
executive body that is reporting to board of directors and stockholders’ assembly.
Board of directors is responsible for dealing with general corporate governance issues,
apart from those, related to shareholders’ assembly responsibilities. Based on functions and
competencies of a company’s board members outlined by Russian regulatory framework and by
Corporate Code of Conduct1, a board of directors has the following functions:
Determination of corporate strategy, company’s priorities;
Adoption of a company’s financial plan;
Maintenance of effective control on corporate activities;
Protection of shareholders’ rights and assistance in solving corporate
Control on effectiveness of executive body’s activities;
Formation of executive body and responsibility for its premature
termination (if that is indicated in a certificate of incorporation);
Maintenance of necessary conditions for holding shareholders’ meetings;
Responsibility for operations with securities (if it is indicated in a
certificate of incorporation);
Responsibility for corporate affiliates creation (if other is not indicated in a
certificate of incorporation);
Acceptance of deals, made by a company;
Other functions that are indicated in a certificate of incorporation.
Board’s activities can be also classified according to functional differences and
divided into three groups (Figure 1):
Strategic functions, including setting long-term and short-term goals for a
company, establishing partnerships with important stakeholders;
Monitoring functions, including supervision of managers and revision of
correspondence between company’s functioning and its strategic goals;
Representative functions, including forming and presenting company’s reputation
to external environment.
Figure 1 – Main roles of company’s board of directors
Source: Created by author
The main function of board of directors is control on corporate management authorities
and their decisions in order to minimize the potential risk for a company’s shareholders and to
maximize their value. Company’s success is the result of aggregated activities of its board
members that is usually represented by resource-holders, such as investors, creditors, suppliers or
employees. Board of directors plays an important role in corporate governance and it is
responsible for overall management, company’s key goals and strategies and annual financial
planning. It also controls top management’ and executive body’s activities, responding to
shareholders. Overall, company’s board of directors should act on behalf of company’s
shareholders and of a company as a whole. Therefore, a board should act professionally and
independently in order to implement a proper corporate governance practices in a company
(Bebchuk, Cohen, Ferrell, 2009).
Hence, board members should solve the agency problem by guaranteeing the existence
of independent directors within it. It is considered, that the less company’s success influences on
a director’s own wealth and the less risks will he/she bear while taking decisions, the more
effective and rational are the decisions taken by that director (Foma, 1980). According to the
agency theory, independent directors are more efficient in controlling management and
protection of shareholders’ rights than others (Fama, Jensen, 1983). According to Hillman and
Dalziel (2003), the dependence of board members on each other can negatively influence the
quality of control on management. Nevertheless, this interdependence can have a positive
impact on decision making processes regarding resource provision and allocation.
As it is stated in Corporate Governance Code, directors in Russian companies are
divided into three categories: executive, non-executive and independent directors. Executive
directors are usually represented by executive body members or by those, holding a position in a
company hierarchy. According to Russian legislation, a number of executive directors in a board
should not account for more than a quarter of number of board members. Non-executive
directors are presented by stakeholders, who do not hold any position in a company, but who are
interested in its activities. Independent directors are represented by members with following
characteristics (Central Bank of Russia Newsletter, 2014):
A level of professionalism and experience that is high enough for forming
a personal own position on company’s development and governance;
Ability to act independently and objectively;
Independence from the influence of executive body, certain shareholders’
groups and other related parties;
No affiliation to a company as a whole, its shareholders, customers and
lack of personal interest in its activities.
No affiliation to governmental authorities.
A board member is not an independent director anymore, if he/she has been participating
in board activities for more than seven years, if he/she holds company’s shares accounting for
more than one percent of ownership capital, if a person acts as a part of executive body or has
been consulted a company during the last three years.
According to Corporate Governance Code, the number of independent directors should
account for no less than one third of the total number of board members in order to have the
possibility to influence the decisions taken by the board. According to Independent directors’
association, the share of independent directors in boards of Russian companies accounts for 30%
of a total number, while in foreign companies that number reaches more than fifty percent.
Summing up, it is worth to be said that a board of directors is a vital part of a company
that is responsible for its overall performance. It is obvious that the effectiveness of a board
performance heavily depends on its members’ characteristics: on how efficient could they
integrate all the skills and competencies they have and build relationship in order to take right
decisions that are the most beneficial for a company. In case when company’s shareholders are
interested in its prosperity, they should carefully and responsibly select board members.
Effective corporate governance is one of critically important company’s characteristics
that influence its reliability and attractiveness for investors, customers and other stakeholders.
That is especially important for companies based in emerging countries due to volatile
economical and political environment and relatively weak institutions there (compared to
advanced economies). In order to attract foreign investments and stay successful in the process
of internationalization, Russian companies are paying now more attention to a quality of board
functioning. Nevertheless, due to the fact that there still exists an overlap in Russian companies’
boards between former planned economy features and those of market economy, there is no
universal standard for boards functioning, similar to European code of conduct.
Hence, researchers identify several Russian-specific features that need to be taken into
account while assessing Russian companies’ boards of directors (McCarthy, Puffer, 2002;
Yakovlev, Danilov, 2006):
High influence of state;
Hostile attitude toward outsiders;
The importance of personal connections;
Active participation of board members in operative administration
Nondistinct assignment of responsibilities among executive body
representatives and board members.
1.2 Intellectual capital: definition and characteristics
Company assets can be divided into two groups according to their nature as tangible and
intangible assets. Tangible assets are those that have a physical form. They include current assets
such as inventory, machinery, land and buildings. Intangible assets are not physical by their
nature. They are embodied by company's intellectual property, goodwill and brand recognition.
Taking into account the specifics of intangible assets, it can be concluded that they play as
important role for a company as tangible ones. The problem is that it is much more difficult to
evaluate them in money terms. Moreover, some intangible assets should not even be indicated in
There is still a discussion among researchers regarding either to assess intellectual capital
as a part of intangible assets or not. However, the majority of authors identify intellectual capital
as a group of intangible assets. According to some researchers, intangible assets are those that
ensure the future benefits without tangible embodiment (Lev, 2004) or a group of knowledge that
should correspond to a company corporate strategy (Bouteiller, 2010). As for the intellectual
capital, those authors define it as a group of intangible assets that include company’s intellectual
property, its market position, infrastructure and human assets (Brooking, 1996;1998). Therefore,
intellectual capital and intangible assets are perceived by those scholars as synonymous and have
very close roles and definitions. According to Volkov (2006), asset is a possibility to get a
potential profit as a result of previous actions conducted. Therefore, intangible assets are defined
as any assets that belong to or controlled by a company and that do not have a tangible form but
which can bring economic benefits to a company in future. Moreover, a group of such assets can
be identified as company’s intellectual capital. (Volkov & Garanina, 2007). According to some
authors, intellectual capital is characterized as a main indicator of company’s revenue generating
capabilities (Bontis, 1998; Stewart, 1997; Sveiby, 1997).
In this paper, the following definition of intellectual capital will be used: intellectual
capital is defined as all the intangible and non-monetary assets that are partly or fully controlled
by the organization, that are creating value for a company and that are improving company’s
capacities for value creation (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). In order to make it possible to manage
and to evaluate intellectual capital, it is divided into three components: structural, relational and
human capital (Figure 2).
Figure 2 – Structure of intellectual capital
Source: Created by author
Structural capital consists of two parts: innovational capital that includes intellectual
assets such as patents and know-how and process capital describing organizational procedures
and processes. Structural capital also represents strategically important non-human assets, such
as hardware, databases and special algorithms that are left in the organization without taking into
account human resources (Cabrita, Bontis, 2008).
Relational capital is represented by information and resources that were gathered through
interactions with the main stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, creditors and others who
influence the way the organization is functioning.
As for human capital, it specifies the scope of knowledge accrued by a company’s
employees. It is also represented by each worker’s individual experience, expertize, values and
attitudes, loyalty and other personal characteristics and competences that have a direct of indirect
influence on an overall company’s performance.
Management of IC resources differs from that of tangible resources. Intellectual capital
resources are non-additive, which means that the amount of resources used does not become
smaller during the lifecycle. It is not guaranteed that the intellectual capital resources will
increase if investing in them heavily. Moreover, initial investments in intellectual capital begin
generating value only after quite a long period of time. It is also important to take into account
that after some level of investments in intellectual capital, its efficiency begins decreasing and it
can even reach negative growth rates.
The idea that company’s competitive advantages are identified not by its market position,
but by knowledge and other intangible assets characterizing a company is becoming more
popular among researchers (Teece, 1998).
According to resource theory, the difference in companies’ ROA strongly depends on
assets portfolio. Moreover, the rarer is an asset, the more benefits and higher profitability a
company can get. Those benefits are characterized by value that an asset can bring to a company.
Nevertheless, such assets should be long-lasting, unique and irreplaceable (Stewart, 1991). It was
also stated in the paper, that companies become more and more dependent on knowledge such as
patents, managerial qualification, technologies, information about customers, suppliers and other
stakeholders. According to the author, intellectual capital is defined as a complex of all the
knowledge that company’s employees have that are creating competitive advantages for a
company (Stewart, 1991). As for the intellectual capital management, it is identified by
researchers as an allocation and usage of intellectual capital resources, management and
transformation of that resources in order to maximize a current value of a company for its
Therefore, it becomes crucial for company managers to control the allocation and usage
of resources and to have special knowledge, skills and instruments to manage the effectiveness
of value creation processes. Company’s executives should know and understand the portfolio of
resources that company has and especially those, that form competitive advantages of a company
and make it different from a firm’s main rivals. Moreover, it is necessary to classify resources
splitting them into tangible and intangible ones. By doing that, company’s managers get an
opportunity to separately estimate an organizational intellectual capital and to elaborate a policy
and strategy to maximize the effectiveness of resource usage through a proper allocation that
creates a synergy among them, which can maximize shareholders’ value.
1.3 Intellectual capital of board of directors
As it was discussed above, a company is an owner of tangible and intangible assets.
Intellectual capital is a group of intangible assets represented by employees’ specific knowledge,
skills, experience and expertize. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the main source of
intellectual capital. It can be generated by internal human resources or provided by external
environment. Company’s board of directors also acts as a source of intellectual capital. This
conclusion is based on the nature of board of directors: its role is to control a company’s
management and to protect shareholders’ rights. Board’s activities are aimed to create a company
value and to increase and maximize this value on behalf of shareholders.
The main role of company’s board is to sustain and control the effective and efficient
corporate governance in order to protect shareholders’ interests and rights. In order to reach those
goals, board members are monitoring and controlling executive body’s activities, providing
managers with access to resources and identifying strategic directions for a firm’s further
development (Hillman and Dalziel, 2003). Thereby, board members’ characteristics can
potentially add competitive advantages to a company as a whole. When considering intellectual
capital from the position of its sources, board of directors in total and its members separately can
be assessed as sources of a company’s intellectual capital. Therefore, while measuring the overall
level of intellectual capital of a firm, IC parameters of board members should be explored.
The term “board’s capital” was firstly introduced in 2003 (Hillman and Dalziel, 2003).
Authors identified it as a scope of skills and knowledge of board members and their relationship
among each other and with other stakeholders. Researchers claimed that a specific level of
human and relational capital allows board members to more effectively control management
activities and distribute resources. The process of investing intellectual capital characteristics in
board activities is realized through improving company’s reputation, establishing contacts and
provision of executives with management consulting. Thereby, a board of directors is an owner
of relational and human capital that is formed by aggregated human and relational capital of
every member (Kor and Sundaramurthy, 2008). As far as a company's board is responsible for
corporate strategic planning activities, board’s intellectual capital can be defined as the ability of
creating value by using intangible assets of its members, such as knowledge, skills, experience
Firm’s board is responsible for taking decisions regarding the usage of accessible
resources in order to increase a company’s productivity and its financial performance. As it was
stated before, a company is characterized by different types of resources, such as tangible and
intangible ones. It is important to structure all the resources a company has in order to identify a
proper approach for managing different types of them. Board representatives usually take
decisions about huge investments or regarding strategic vision and goals, such as replacement of
production facilities, product diversification and other changes in current business activities.
Board members are also responsible for identification of accessible intangible resources, their
categorization and development of instruments for managing them. Intangible assets
management is different from that of tangible ones, therefore a board of directors’ responsibility
is to estimate intellectual capital potential of a company and to develop strategies for their usage
for company’s value maximization.
It becomes obvious, that in order to take right decisions about overall business strategy
and about managing company’s intellectual resources, a board of directors itself should have
some knowledge, skills, competencies and experience. Taking into account the definition of
intellectual capital provided above, a board of directors can be characterized by two out of three
components of intellectual capital: human and relational. Human capital of board members is
represented by their professional experience, level of education, competencies and reputation. As
for relational capital characteristics, they are presented by an access to resources that an
individual gets through his/her connections (Nahapiet, Ghoshal, 1998). In sum, human capital of
board of directors is a scope of personal characteristics of its members that increases the
productivity and effectiveness of board’s activities and improves the decision-making process.
Relaitonal capital of a company’s board is identified as a scope of connections and relationship
of each board member with external environment that can somehow influence company’s
As far as board members of some companies are presented not only by Russian citizens,
but also by foreigners, this study concentrates on human capital characteristics of foreigners in
boards of directors of Russian companies and on the influence of human capital of foreign
members on companies’ financial results.
1.4 Human capital as a major component of intellectual capital
In spite of the fact that ‘human capital’ as a separate type of non-tangible resources
appeared much later, the first economists began insisting on the difference in workers’ quality
during the production process already in 17 th century. William Petty was the first economist who
put the accent on the correlation between production output and workers’ experience and skills.
Before the introduction of human capital theory, such scholars as Adam Smith (1776),
Alfred Marshal (1890) were assessing original and acquired human knowledge and skills as a
fixed capital, similar to that of machines, land and buildings. According to Adam Smith «t he
improved dexterity of a workman may be considered in the same thing as a machine or
instrument of trade which facilitates and abridges labor, and which though it costs a certain
expense, repays the expense with a profit» (Smith, 1776/1937, p. 265-266).
In the middle of twentieth century, the role of human capital in the economic activities
was re-evaluated and excluded from fixed capital, but started to be assessed as a part of physical
capital that also included production facilities, machines and other equipment (Schultz, 1961;
Becker, 1964). During that time, a lot of criticism for assessing human capital as a part of nonfinancial capital was met by scholars. Many economists were still considering physical
equipment such as machines, land, buildings and other production facilities as the only nonfinancial resources. Later on, economists agreed on the vital role of human capital characteristics
in analysis of socio-economic development.
After the World War II, the importance of the role of human capital in countries’
economic recovery was identified: «structures, equipment and inventories were all heaps of
rubble. We gave altogether too much weight to nonhuman capital in making these assessments.
We fell into this error because we failed to take into account human capital and the important
part it plays in production of a modern economy» (Schultz, 1971).
In the early 1990s, the theory of human capital became noticeable when it appeared to be
one of the main factors that changes the standard economical neoclassical growth model. The
model was then revised to insert human capital as a separate factor.
At the end of twentieth century an economic importance of human capital and its
influence on a country's competitive advantages and contribution to a country's economic growth
was identified by several groups of scholars (Nehru, Swanson and Dubey, 1995; Porter, 1998;
Drucker, 1999). Summarizing the ideas presented in articles published on that time, human
capital was defined as the intelligence and knowledge equal to other influencers on a national
The human capital theory in its initial version was introduced in twentieth century by
such scholars as Jacob Mincer, Theodore Schultz and Gary Becker. It represented the theoretical
background explaining the adoption of education and development policies (Knight, 1996).
There were a lot of definitions of human capital published by different scholars. Human capital
was defined by Schultz as 'attributes of acquired population quality, which are valuable and can
be augmented by appropriate investments' (Schultz, 1997). One of the founders of human capital
theory, Becker, identified human capital as a scope of qualities and characteristics that increase
future monetary and non-monetary income by positively influencing potential of people.
As far as human capital importance was highlighted not only by economic theories, but
also by strategic management scientists, individuals’ skills, knowledge and experience were
assessed as creators of economic value for companies. Top management’s skills started to be
evaluated as producers of company’s competitive advantages (Barney, 1991). It was determined,
that a company’s competitive advantage comes from the availability of rare, imperfectly imitable
and usable resources. Human capital met all three conditions. Therefore, the role played by
human capital characteristics of a company’s management was specifies as crucial in creating
economic value for a company (Castanias and Helfat, 2001).
Several studies were conducted and proved that human capital has the biggest weight in
intellectual capital structure and that it is the most relevant component that needs to be
considered while measuring company performance (Cabrita and Bontis, 2008; Marr and Roos,
2005). Moreover, it plays a driving role for the two components that are left.
Human capital is identified as a wealth embodied in labor, skills, knowledge and
competencies and it reflects to any group of knowledge or other personal characteristics that
directly contribute to a person’s productivity and efficiency (Garibaldi, 2006). It is also vital to
bear in mind that the conception of human capital itself is not limited to professional knowledge
and skills and educational background, but covers other areas, such as health conditions,
geographical flexibility, etc. Human capital was recognized as a major value creator for
companies (Chen, 2004). It was then identified as driver for company’s economic activity,
competitiveness and overall prosperity (Cabrita, 2008).
After acknowledgement of the importance of humane capital for overall company
performance, several studies indicated that intangible assets such as human capital characteristics
are a source of a competetive advantage for a business (Zabala, 2005). The intangible nature of
human capital brings some difficulties to measure its contribution to a business and to calculate
the exact numbers for its value in a financial statement.
Overall, human capital as a non-tangible company asset can be characterized by
Not tradable. As far as human capital is an individual characteristic, it can
not be traded or transferred to others;
Not an organizational property. Creating value for an organization in
whole, human capital stays s personal characteristic and can not be owned by a company
where an employee is working;
Generated by professional knowledge and skills of employees. Human
capital in the organizational context is represented first of all by professional
characteristics of company workers;
Intangible. It is impossible to measure precisely the size of human capital
of a firm as well as the exact share of company’s success that is delivered through human
Influence on company value. Despite the difficulties in measuring it, it is
already proved that human capital positively influences company’s performance in
Cumulative effect. As far as every worker contributes with his/her human
capital to a company value, the more workers are contributing simultaneously, the higher
is the overall company’ human capital.
Based on the fact, that organizational human capital influences its performance in longterm and short-term perspectives, a short list of human capital strategic values for the company
was outlined by researchers (Goll, Johnson, Rasheed, 2008; Finkelstein, Hambrick, Cannella,
- Human capital influences the efficiency and effectiveness of company activities;
- Human capital helps a firm to exploit market opportunities;
- Human capital helps a firm to neutralize potential risks and threats for a company.
Taking into account the strategic importance and inflluence of human capital on company
performance, it is important to understand which industries are more dependent on its
characteristics. According to Edvinsson and Malone (1997), level of human capital is especially
important for knowledge-based organizations in which professional knowledge and skills of
employees are the only driver of the business.
For service companies, it is crucial to develop sustainable and long-term relations with
customers that are largerly dependent on employees’ personal characteristics as far as they
directly contact customers or other stakeholders (Helm, 2011). Moreover, those workers who are
in charge of stakeholders relations can influence customer opinions and perceptions about the
1.5 Influence of human capital on organizational performance
In global economy that is turning to be based on knowledge, the formation of competitive
advantages against rivals becomes one the main goals for companies. Therefore, the factors that
have a stronger influence on competitive advantages have been staying in a scope of study for
researchers for many years. Bontis (1998) in his study indicated a reliable, sustainable and
significant link between human capital and company financial results.
Several studies were conducted later that proved the main argument of resource based
view and identified the correlation between intangible resources and company economic
performance (Bontis, Keow and Richardson, 2000; Riahi-Belkaoui, 2003; Li and Wu, 2004;
Chen, Cheng and Hwang, 2005).
Later on, human capital was sited as an influential asset for the firm financial
performance by other scholars. Moreover, it was proven that it also reduces company
expenditures in many ways. Therefore, educational level of employees as well as their
professional experience, motivaition and other skills and knowledge usually increase a company
output and bring extra competitive advantages to it (Young and Snell, 2004).
The empirical research was conducted for a scope of the USA based service and nonservice companies in the beginning of 21st century and it was proven that human capital
influences not only frims’ competitive advantages, but also has a direct influence on their
financial performance (Bontis, Keow and Richardson, 2000).
Carmeli and Tischler (2004) proved with their studies that there is a positive correlation
between company’s human capital and its future financial performance. Nevertheless, the
scholars have also indicated that the strength of this correlation is highly dependent on an
industry and a country in which a firm is operating. Moreover, scholars outlined three main
elements of human capital that have a strong influence on organizational economical output:
motivation, education and experience. According to their study, those three elements apart from
influencing the overall company performance, strongly depend on each other. For example,
motivation without the required level of experience and education is useless, as well as
experience without motivation, etc. Therefore, when all three factors characterize employees
simultaneously, they strongly enhance corporate financial performance.
There were several studies conducted that proved the influence of human capital on
company’s profit, survival and profitability (Delios and Beamish, 2001; Chen, Cheng and
Hwang, 2005; Ranzijn and Verboom, 2004). It was also indicated, that there is a positive
correlation between human capital of employees and firm’s profit generating potential, market
share and assets base.
Several studies fixed the influence of human capital on company’s net profit margin
(NPM), return on capital employed (ROCE) and earnings per share (Spivey, McMillan, 2002).
Seleim, Ashour and Bontis (2007) analyzed the relationship between human capital and
organizational performance and found a positive impact of trainings attended by managers, their
teamwork experience on a company’s market value.
Bontis and Fitzenz (2002) acknowledged in their research the correlation between human
capital characteristics and company’s business outcomes. They conducted the analysis of 25
firms selected from financial services industry. The scientisis were measuring human capital
level and effectiveness by four parameters: revenue factor, expense factor, income factor and
return on investments (ROI). The study was based on the assumption that the main goal of an
organization is to maximize revenue earned per every worker. The research proved the
hypothesis that human capital influences financial results per worker through influencing
intellectual capital assets. Therefore, there is a direct impact on ROI of financial services
companies by human capital.
The importance of human capital characteristics for organizational financial results was
also proven by the model created by Bontis (1998). This model provides the following logics:
Human capital is the major component of intellectual capital that is also a
driver for structural and relational capitals;
There is a correlation between relational and structural capital, where
relational capital has a direct influence on structural capital;
Both structural and relational capitals represent company’s assets in form
of sources of information that is vital for its strategic development and has a direct
influence on company’s financial performance.
The study across five ASEAN countries was conducted in order to measure a Modified
Value Added Intellectual Coefficient (MVAIC) and its influence on corporate financial results
(Nimtrakoon, 2015). Taking into account that human capital is defined as a major element of
intellectual capital, the author supposed that the results proven could be applicable not only to
intellectual capital, but also to human capital that is taken separately. The result of the study
showed the positive correlation between human capital and company market value, confirming
that companies with higher intellectual capital obtain greater market value. Human capital was
also positively associated with profit margin and return on assets (ROA). Its efficiency was
identified as a major value driver for a company market value and financial performance with
structural capital efficiency and rational capital efficiency indicated as less important.
Taking into account the results of conducted researches provided above, it can be
indicated, that a relationship between human capital and company financial performance is
notable for at least several geographical regions and industries. Nevertheless, there is no such
research conducted for Russia. Bearing in mind the role of company’s board of directors in its
overall performance, it is important to assess the influence of board human capital of Russian
joint-stock companies on their performance. While assessing them, it will be possible to analyze
different industries and come up with a broader conclusion regarding the influence of their board
on economic performance. Moreover, while establishing the relations between human capital of
foreign board membership and company financial performance, several recommendations to
shareholders could be formed in order to enhance their decisions.
1.6 Influence of human capital of company's board on its performance
Narrowing down human capital of a company as a whole to that, created or brought by
board members, it is necessary to analyze the existing studies that prove that special aspects of
human capital of corporate board members influence overall board performance and company’s
performance as well.
In the publication by Carpenter and Westphal (2001) it is stated that the knowledge,
which were acquired by board members holding the same positions at other companies have an
influence on strategic decisions-taking process. According to some experts, a participation in
board of directors at companies with close strategy or at those, operating on similar markets or
similar business environment, positively influences the performance of that member.
Nevertheless, the positive impact of industry experience is more common for stable economic
environment. In more volatile environment, a diversified industry experience is more helpful for
directors, because it provides them with ability to quickly adapt to fast-changing conditions by
using experience and benchmark from a plenty of industries.
It was also proven by some researchers (Kor and Sundaramurthy, 2009), that political
experience or working experience in public authorities of board members’ influences company's
market capitalization, Tobin’s Q, return on assets (ROA) and return on sales (ROS). It is
explained by the fact that such experience helps professionals to better orient in economic and
political situation in a country and also to predict different trends in business environment.
Moreover, sometimes it can make it easier for directors to get an access to some resources.
Some studies were investigating the correlation between narrow industry experience of
board members with a company’s performance. It was stated ( Carpenter, Pollock and Leary,
2003) that narrow working experience provides directors with a possibility to accumulate
knowledge and skills in some area and than to use them while taking strategically important
decisions. As far as a board consists of several professionals with focused specialization, it
becomes more diversified in terms of functions and is more disposed to innovations through
collaboration between different specialist and ideas generation that is based on careful critics
from different professional positions and points of view.
Overall, higher level of education and professional experience of board members leads to
larger amount of resources that can be used by them while taking strategically important
decisions, especially during crisis (Carpenter and Westphal, 2001).
To sum up the information provided above, it can be concluded that human capital of
board of directors is considered as a very important source of competitive advantage for a
company. Moreover, it is considered to be vital for a company's success because of effecting its
performance and providing collective intelligence. Nevertheless, in order to be more precise in
assessing the importance of human capital for organization and society, it is necessary to indicate
its main characteristics.
1.7 Human capital measurement indicators
Human capital measurement has been staying a very important issue for scholars during
the long period of time. Starting from the end of twentieth century, several studies were
conducted by scholars in order to address human capital measurement (Table 1). Nevertheless,
there is still no unified approach for assessing the value of human resources or human capital of
Table 1 – Human capital measurement approaches
the approach translating a
company’s mission into a
scope of workers’
performance measures. An
performance is evaluated
through four ‘balanced’
- financial, which
measures the economic
effect on a company by
actions taken by employees;
- customer, which
measures the effect on
targeted customer segments
by actions taken by
- internal business
process, which set a critical
internal processes level that
should be excelled by
- learning and
growth, which identifies the
structure and infrastructure
that a company should build
in order to achieve the set
HR Scorecard: this
instrument helps HR
managers to assess the
contribution to overall
company performance by its
employees. The assessment
is run through evaluating the
that have directly
generating the HR
to support a company
focusing on specific
elements that could
deliverables. It also
alignment of HR
identifying the exact
scope of tasks or
responsibility og HR
managers in order to
s upport company
goals and meet
Mark Huselid, Brian
Becker, Dick Beatty
Scorecard: an instrument
that helps to assess human
resources value not only
from HR managers’
perspective, but also from
employees' perspective. It
evaluates 4 elements:
- workforce success,
employees strategic business
goals that were set;
- leadership and
assessing the ways of how
project teams are working in
a way of meeting company's
competencies, indicating the
presence of necessery skills
and knowledges for
achieving strategic goals by
- workforce mindset
and culture, implying the
understanding of a company
strategy and main goals by
workers and ecistence of
culture that can support
Integration of the
three scorecards above: the
more general and universally
available to measure the HR
potential and inputs even if
several assumptions should
be taken into account (or not
all the information required
is available) from both HR
managers and other
Source: Created by author
Talking about concrete indicators of human capital, that are usually assessed while
making conclusions regarding its impact on a company performance, they can be divided into
- quantitative perspective measures that usually include cost of investment in human
capital, wage differences according to workers' educational levels, tenure period;
- qualitative perspective measures that include a level of the formal education received
and additional knowledge and skills an employee uses in his/her work.
Scholz, Stein and Bechtel (2004) have outlined several measurement methods of human
capital, based on the information availability, company's strategic goals, timing and other
conditions that can influence a measurement process:
- oriented on the company market value methods;
- oriented on accounting methods;
- based on indicators methods;
- oriented on value added methods;
– profit oriented methods.
As far as human capital is identified as a group of personal characterics, such as
education, experience and skills, no general approach can be applied to its measurement. It is
impossible not only because of the nature of human capital, which is a group of intangible assets,
but also due to the plenty of variables that are affecting it. Based on the existing researches on
that (Kor and Sundaramurthy, 2009; Carpenter, Pollock, and Leary, 2003; Carpenter and
Westphal, 2001; Hillman and Dalziel, 2003), the following indicators of human capital of a
company’s board of directors can be outlined:
Working experience in the same industry;
Diversified working experience;
Participation in structural deals;
Tenure as a bord member;
Taking into account the specifics of this study, in which only the characteristics of
foreign board members were analyzied and the results of already published studies on similar
subjects (Oxelheim and Randøy, 2003; Mi Choi, Sul and Kee Min, 2012) and number of
observations, impact of the following aspects of relational capital of company's board members
- MBA degree;
- Insudtry working experience;
- Diversified working experience.
Summing up the information provided above, it is important to say that a company’s
intangible assets are very important and appreciated value creators that should be selected and
managed carefully and in accordance with the overall company strategy. A group of such
characteristics as education, professional experience, international experience, tenure,
participation in structural deals and etc. is identified as intellectual capital Board of Directors.
As far as there are several sources of intellectual capital, members of board of directors as
represantatives of strategically important firm body act as ‘providers’ of intellectual capital. Due
to the fact that human capital is perceived to be the main element out of those three forming
intellectual capital, it possibly influences the overall company performance. There are already
several studies published that are proving the positive influence of specific human capital
characteristics of board members on a firm financial performance in some countries. As far as
human capital is a characteristic of a person, companies are striving to attract the most
experienced and educated professionals for taking strategically important decisions. According to
differences in countries’ development stages, some companies are attracting foreign
professionals as board members due to their higher qualification and reputation. This practice is
quite common for Russian companies. Moreover, recent studies show that the share of foreign
board membership in Russian joint-stock companies is rising and that is is already becoming
higher than that of some European countries (Bauer, Shvyrkov and Reukova, 2012). Therefore, it
is important to estimate the influence of human capital of foreign members of board of directors
on financial indicators at Russian companies.
2. HUMAN CAPITAL OF FOREIGN BOARD MEMBERS AND COMPANY FINANCIAL
PERFORMANCE – EMPIRICAL STUDY
2.1 Research strategy and hypothesis formulation
Research strategy enables the investigator to answer precisely research questions and to
achieve research goals. Therefore, strategy selection process should be guided by both questions
and objectives set at the beginning along with a scope of existing knowledge, information
available, access to resources and time. Taken into account the availability of all the factors
above, several research strategies can be used for conducting this empirical study:
Experiment, presenting a form of research for studying causes and results. It
identifies whether changes in independent variables generate changes in dependent variables
(Hakim, 2000). This strategy is also useful when determining a correlation between two factors.
Experiment is usually used in exploratory and explanatory studies while identifying causes and
special features of variables.
Survey, presenting a form of research aimed to answer ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’,
‘how much/many’ questions. It is usually used while conducting an exploratory or descriptive
studies. Surveys are usually organized in a form of a questionnaire with standardized answers
that is distributed among sizable population to get a representative answers and to track a
tendency if it exists.
Case study, presenting a form of empirical investigation of a current phenomenon
in a real-life context. It is important to take into account the quality of context in order to get
representative and realistic results. This strategy usually answers such questions as ‘why’, ‘what’
and ‘how’ in explanatory and exploratory researchers.
Due to the fact that the aim of the current study is to identify the relationship between
human capital charateristics of board members (independent variables) and indicators of
company financial performance (dependent variables), the most suitable research strategy is an
It is necessary to proceed with the formulation of hypotheses based on the conducted
literature review on the topic of relationship between human capital of a foreign board members
and financial results of Russian companies.
Accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree
As it was stated above, human capital is a representation of a certain set of intangible
assets such as skills, knowledge and experience that were got by directors through education or
working experience. As far as MBA/EMBA degrees are aimed to provide students with special
business knowledge that are very practically oriented, it can be supposed that those directors
with MBA degree accpomplished are able to take decisions regarding company future
development quicker and more effectively.
There were conducted a lot of studies that were exploring the correlation between
changes in board human capital and a company’s financial success. In those studies, scientists
were taking education as a major characteristics of board members’ human capital. For instance,
board members’ educational level assessed as a time period, during which every member was
studying – from school to graduation from university (Chen, 2014). In some studies, educational
level was identified as a time period, which a person spent on receiving a higher education only
(Khana, Jones and Boivie, 2013). There are also several studies that are taking education level as
a dummy-variable, where the university degree is equal to 1 and a lack of higher education is
equal to 0.
There are also several studies published that are investigating the relationship between
accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree by firm’s board members and its financial results. Thus,
it was proven by several researchers (Carmeli and Tishler, 2004; Chen, Chang and Lee, 2008)
that there is a positive correlation between accomplishment of MBA degree by directors and
firm’s internal financial results, such as ROE and ROA. This statement can be explained by the
fact that board directors with special business education are more effective in taking strategic
decisions, especially during the time of crisis. It can be also supposed that such directors are able
to use benchmarking from other countries, industries and companies. Moreover, some scientists
(Choi, Kee and Min, 2012) claimed that there is a positive influence of special business
education of foreign board members not only on internal or accounting indicators, but also on
company’s market attractiveness for investors that was measured with Tobin’s Q ratio. It could
be explained with the fact that investors rely more on decision-makers that have a special
business education that provides then with the ability to act rationally and more professionaly.
What is more, it can enable directors to think more in long-term perspective, while knowing
from the cases of other companies that while acting on behalf from a company as a whole and
from its shareholders, it is usually worth to exchange short-term benefits to long-term
As far as MBA/EMBA programs are created in order to upgrade the professional level of
managers, to give them a special knowledge and know-how in strategic planning, corporate
governance, corporate finance and in other areas – it can be supposed, that while having MBA or
EMBA degree, a board member can potentially bring more value to a company, when taking
strategically important decisions. It was decided to take this variable as a share of foreign
members of board of directors with MBA/EMBA degree accomplished out of total number of
foreign board members in a company.
H1a: Accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree by a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company ROA
H1b: Accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree by a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company market capitalization
Tenure as a board member
While being a member of a board of directors, a person should act on behalf from
company shareholders in order to increase their value. Apart from having a certain group of
knowledge, skills and competencies, a director should be aware of internal company processes
and tendencies in order to take right decisions quickly and rationally. Therefore, the period
during which a person has been holding a seat in a board can possibly play a positive role in a
quality and pace of decision-making processes by board members regarding company's further
There are still debates among researchers regarding the influence of tenure of a board
member on a company performance. Therefore, some authors claim that long-term engagement
of director in a company’s activities is connected or comes from high practical experience,
interest, commitment and competence as far as it provides a director with a vital information
regarding the company where he/she is operating and the industry and business environment in
general (Vance, 1983). Some researchers have also found that an extended tenure positively
influences a person’s commitment to a business as well as it provides him/her with a willingness
to make a real impact and change for achieving company strategic goals (Buchanan, 1974). It is
also common among researchers to connect a director’s tenure with a rising commitment to
company’s activities as far as a director becomes stronger connected with a firm while buying its
stocks and while feeling him/herself more confident and experienced from year to year
(Salancik, 1977). According to some researchers, even when operating in the same industry,
there are some peculiarities that are unique for every single company. During the time a person
spent as a board member, he/she is gathering a lot of information and is increasing his/her
awareness of company’s internal characteristics and unique sources, that helps a member to think
more rationally and to take more comprehensive decisions regarding a company development
strategy (Kor & Sundaramurthly, 2009). While spending several years in a company’s board of
directors, a person is aware not only about a company’s specifics, but also about other board
members that helps to adapt and to work more efficient and effective as a team (Fisher &
Pollock, 2004). Therefore, it can be concluded that tenure as a board member can possibly
influence not only professional qualities of a director, but can also improve personal relationship
between all the members that can lead to easier consensus and better understanding among
directors. Moreover, a positive influence of tenure of foreign citizens as board members in a
company on its attractiveness for investors can be explained by the fact, that investors trust more
those companies, with stable corporate governance. It can be a sign of well-designed strategy,
according to which goals are reached on time, which gets rid of need to re-select board members.
Therefore, a tenure as a board member can have a positive influence on a person’s decisionmaking capacities and a board effectiveness in general.
It was decided to take this variable as an average number of years during which a foreign
board member has been holding his/her seat in a company.
H2a: Tenure as a board member of a foreign citizen has a positive relationship with
H2b: Tenure as a board member of a foreign citizen has a positive relationship with
company market capitalization
Industry working experience
Working experience in the industry where the company is operating now is often assessed
as a human capital characteristics of board members (Tian et all., 2010; Le, Kroll & Walters,
2012; Dulyak, 2015). The reason behind doing that is the fact that while operating in the same
industry, companies often face similar problems regarding technologies, governmental
regulation, legal requirements, competition, market trends, changes in consumer preferences and
others (Kor and Misangyi, 2008). Therefore, a board member that is already aware of possible
challenges a company can face in a near future can quicker react to them. Moreover, while being
aware of possible consequences, directors with a large industry working experience can take
more long-term oriented decisions that are corresponding to overall company strategy.
It is supposed, that a director that is experienced in that very area has a deeper
understanding of trends and movements and can take more rational decisions while
understanding the way the industry is functioning (Rajagopalan and Datta, 1996). Therefore,
when working in the same industry for more than three years, a manager gets a scope of specific
knowledge and experience that he/she can apply when working in a board of directors, assessing
the information as an expert and correlating the knowledge he/she has with the real situation that
helps him/her to take right decisions. According to this statement, it can be concluded that while
having a large working experience in the industry where a company is operating now, a director
could not only be more effective and efficient when taking decision on behalf from the board,
but also when assessing the quality of management and comsulting managers regarding the way
they are leading the company. Being an industry expert, a director can suggest to managers to
apply some benchmarking practices in order to increase a company value. From investors’ point,
industry experience of a board member can be a positive sign of his/her expertize and ability to
make comprehensive decisions and to control executive bodies while applying professional
knowledge. While discussing a foreign board membership, it is necessary to take into account
that while taking strategic decisions about a company development, a foreign director can
compensate lack of knowledge about a country where a company is operating by having a strong
expertize in the industry that is formed by a long-term working experience there. Morover, a
foreign board member could bring changes and the best practices from similar companies
operating in other countries when having several years of working experience in a single
industry. It is also important to mention a pace of taking decisions by a person who is
experienced in some business industry.
It was decided to take this variable as average number of years during which a foreign
board member has been working in the industry where a company is operating now.
H3a: Industry working experience of a foreign board member has a positive relationship
with company ROA
H3b: Industry working experience of a foreign board member has a positive relationship
with company market capitalization
Diversified working experience
According to the information provided above, there are provements of a positive
influence on industry specific experience of foreign members of board of directors and
company’s financial performance. Nevertheless, there exists an alternative point of view stating
that the more diversified is a working experience of a board members, the higher value could
they bring to a company in a long-term perspective. When a person has been working for a long
period of time in the same industry, he/she has a scope of expert knowledge that give the vision
of potential trends in this industry. Therefore, the person is able to make a forecast regarding the
development of the industry if it is more or less sustainable. This ability makes a person a narrow
focused specialist if he/she is not engaged in any activities in other companies or industries. As
for the board member with diversified working experience, he/she is familiar with different
trends and has a broader view on a business as a whole. This person is also familiar with a set of
practices that are applied while dealing with problems or taking strategic decisions in different
industries (Horner, 2015). That can potentially positively influence the development of universal
human capital that is as important as a narrow board members’ expertise. This idea was broaded
by a group of researchers (Oxelheim and Rabdøy, 2013; Maditinos, Chatzoudes, Tsairidis, 2008)
that it is much more important for companies that are based in developing countries to attract
professionals with diversified working experience as members of board of directors. This idea
was explained with the fact, that in unpredictable and volatile economic environment, a decisionmaking body should be aware of maximum amount of ways of behavior in order to quickly
‘adjust’ a company’s strategy to fast-changing external environment. It was also stated, that
diversified working experience provides directors with a broader picture on economy as a whole
and allows them to apply more external view on all the processes that are going on inside the
company. As for the foreign board members assessed separately, it was proven that a diversified
working experience of such specialists make it easier for them to integrate in a new business
environment and to adjust their knowledge and points of view to a local environment, its
business traditions, volatility and so on (Forbes, Milliken, 1999).
It was decided to take this variable as a share of foreign board members that have a
working experience in more than 3 industries.
H4a: Diversified working experience of a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company market capitalization
H4b: Diversified working experience of a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company ROA
While analyzing the relationship between specific characteristics of boards of directors
and company’s financial performance, researchers usually assess two aspects of corporate
external performance that is expressed by a company attractiveness to investors,
its price per share and market capitalization. There exist several studies that were evaluating the
correlation between human capital of board of directors and company’s external financial
performance measured as market capitalization, or Tobin’s Q ratio (Berezinets, Ilyina and
internal financial performance that is usually measured by accounting
identificators, which express a company efficiency of resource usage as well as the possibility of
generating profit depending on how much is invested in its development. There are also
published several articles that are proving the positive or negative influence of specific board of
directors’ characteristics on a company accounting results (Choi, Kee and Min, 2012).
It was decided to assess one indicator of a company’s external financial success and its
attractiveness to potential and existing investors and one accounting characteristic of internal
financial results, that can show the company efficiency of resource usage:
- ROA, that shows how human capital of company’s board of directors influences
an overall return on the company;
- Market capitalization, that helps to find out the influence on market perception
and position of the company in a market and its attractiveness for investors.
2.2 Sample description and research design
Based on previous researches on corporate governance, the model for testing the
hypotheses stated above was developed with a group of independent variables in order to
diminish specification bias. The linear regression model was used to test the hypothesis. In this
model, the variables specifying a scope of characteristics of board’s human capital
(accomplishment of MBA degree, industry experience, diversified experience, tenure), as well as
those, characterizing company’s financial results (ROA, market capitalization) along with
control variables representing additional financial and non-financial data about a company
(company age, board size, share of foreign directors on a board) were analysed. The variables
have been selected drawing on past studies about corporate governance and characteristics of
intellectual capital. It was especially useful to analize researches that were considering the
following variables: board size (Yermack, 1996), firm age (Forbes and Milliken, 1999), share of
foreign citizens in a board (Mi Choi & Sul & Kee Min, 2012; Oxelheim & Randøy, 2003),
education (Chen & Chang & Lee, 2008) and experience of board members (Huselid, 1995).
The research was conducted in order to acknowledge the relationship between human
capital of foreign board members of Russian companies and their financial results. The following
regression model was used in order to test four hypothesis provided in Chapter 2.1. The choice of
this model is based on the existing studies on similar topics, in which linear regression model
was used in order to asses the influence of human capital characteristics of foreign membership
on financial results (Mi Choi & Sul & Kee Min, 2012; Oxelheim & Randøy, 2003):
Yi = 0+1Controli+2Boardi+ui (1)
Vector of dependent variable Yi is representing the indicators of financial results (market
capitalization, Tobin’s Q, ROE) of every company i in the sample. Vector Boardi is representing
independent variables that are characteristics of human capital of foreign board members in a
company i. Vector Controli is representing control variables that characterize company financial
performance and provide some additional data about company i. 0 is perceived to be an
unknown scalar quantity, when 1 and 2 are presenting vectors of unknowing coefficients in a
linear regression equation. The description of all the variables used in analysis is presented
below (Table 2):
Table 2. Description of variables used in analysis
Dependent variables used in the analysis
Ratio that indicates firm’s profitability. It was calculated as net profit
divided by total assets
Value of all the company’s shares outstanding. It is calculated as the
amount of shares outstanded multiplied by current market price per share
Independent variables presented in vector Boardi
Share of foreign board members that received MBA/EMBA degree
Average number of years, during which foreign members have been
holding seats in a company’s board
Average time period during which a foreign member have been working in
the industry where the analized company is operating
Averaage number of industries in which foreign members have a working
Independent variables presented in vector Controli
The period of time from the registration date till the date used in the
Total number of board members, including both Russian and foreign
Share of foreigners in the board calculated as number of foreign citizens
divided by total amount of members in the board
Source: Created by author
Sample was built from Russian companies that were listed at any point of time on
Moscow Exchange. For the purpose of this research certain industries were omitted due to the
type of their core activity. For example, all the companies from financial services industry, such
as banks, investment funds and insurance companies were excluded from the analysis. In
addition, some of the firms were not included due to the lack of information for the time periods
being investigated. The period analyzed accounts for two years from 2013 to 2014. This time
period was selected in order to analyze the most recent data available while taking into account
time lack during which, according to some authors (Hilman & Daziel, 2003), the effect of board
of directors’ characteristics on a company performance can become visible.
Therefore, the following ctiteria for inclusion companies into analysis were identified:
- Joint stock company;
- Company has a board of directors;
- There is at least one foreign resident in a board of directors;
- Company is not a financial institution.
The original panel of date consisted of 60 companies. Nevertheless, after removing those
companies with not enough information disclosed in open sources and databases, there were 58
companies left that are fully corresponding to the requirenments stated above.
The selection was drawn from the SPARK database. It provides extensive information
about companies including data on company’s board structure, market performance and financial
results. Сompanies' official websites were also used as a source for gathering data that were
necessary for conducting a research. Using those sources of information, companies' annual
reports were downloaded and in cases when there was not enough data provided in annual
reports, SPARK database was used for data collection.
Final version of the research sample consists of 58 observations – 58 companies in total.
The sample represents 8 industries: 4 – from chemical, 9 – consumer, 13 – energy, 8 companies
are presenting metals & mining industry, 13 – oil & gas, 6 companies from agricultural & food
industries and 5 companies are representing the automotive industry. Companies were distributed
among infustries according to classification provided by SPARK database. According to the
classification provided above, around 75% of all the companies in the sample refer to
manufacturing or resource-extraction sectors whith other 25% of companies that are left
presenting consumer sector and others. More detailed distribution of companies among
industries can be seen on the Figure 3.
Figure 3. Companies distribution among industries
food ; 10.34%
Oil & Gas;
Metails & Mining; 13.79%
Source: Created by author
2.3 Descriptive statistics
Descriptive statistics of the observed variables is presented in the following table
Table 3. Descriptive statistics for regression analysis
206 669 829 270
436 596 915 769
39 382 000
2 360 691 117 847
Average ROE of the companies observed is equal to 5,4%, which means that on average,
companies were generating profit during the period observed that was equal to 5,4% of all the
money invested by shareholders. Minimum value equals almost to zero, which identifies that a
company was not able to use its resources for generating any profit. As for maximum value of
ROE, the profit generated by a company accounts for 67,5% of shareholders’ equity. Distribution
of average ROE among industries that were investigated is presented below (Figure 4)
Figure 4. Distribution of average ROE among industries
Source: Created by author
Due to the fact that one of the main criteria of including companies in sample was
existence of foreign citizen in board of directors, it is important to detect how companies are
distributed by a share of foreign citizens in their boards of directors. The detailed distribution is
presented on Figure below (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Distribution of companies from the sample according to a share of foreigners in
board of directors
Source: Created by author
It can be seen on the graph that the majority of companies investigated are characterized
by a share of foreign board members varying from 10 to 20% of all the members. It can be also
seen that despite the dramatic increase in number of foreigners in Russian companies’ boards,
there are still only a few of them (at least from the sample analyzed) characterized by a share of
foreign board membership accounting for a half of a total number of directors.
It was also important to investigate the distribution of foreign members in a board of
directors depending on the industry in which a company is operating. Below on the graph the
average share of foreign citizens as board members is depicted for different industries (Figure 6).
Figure 6. Average share of foreign citizens in a board in industries observed
Source: Created by author
As it can be seen on the graph, that bigger share of foreigners in a board is typical for
companies from oil and gas industry. It can be explained by the fact that those companies require
a strategic body made of the most qualified experts and professionals, as far as the whole
country’s economy is dependent on activities of those companies. Energy and automotive sectors
go next when talking about amount of foreigners in the board. This fact can be connected with a
high need of restructuring and innovations in those industries. As far as innovations should be
implemented, high volume of investments are required. In order to make a right strategic
decision regarding amount of investments that should be attracted and implementation of some
processes, board members should probably aleady have an experience in this undustries from
Talking about a need of Russian joint ventures to attract experienced and qualified
directors from other countries, when probably those stages of development are already passed, it
is important to detect the main ‘importers’ of board members to Russian companies. The
distribution of all foreign directors analized according to the countries they are citizens of is
provided below (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Distribution of foreign board members according to countries of their
Source: Created by author
According to the graph presented above, the major part of directors in Russian companies
came from either USA or UK or Germany. Indeed, it was detected that companies from
automotive industry are likely to attract directors from Germany and Italy, when those from Oil
& Gas or Metal & Minings sectors are either attract US or UK directors or those, from the
closest countries to Russia, such as Finland. More detailed distribution of countries of citizenship
of foreigners in board of companies from 8 indutries analized is presented below (Figure 8).
Figure 8. Industry and country distribution of foreign board members in Russian companies
Source: Created by author
Taking into account a share of foreigners in every board analized in order to estimate the
relative power those members have on a company as a whole, it is important to look at board size
distribution (Figure 9).
Figure 9. Board size distribution
from 6 to 8
from 9 to 13
Source: Created by author
It can be concluded from the graph that the majority of companies analyzed have quite
big board of directors consisting of 9 to 13 persons. It can be explained by the size of companies
themselves. As far as the majority of companies analyzed are characterized by a huge amount of
employees, production facilities and production volumes, the strategic-planning and decisionmaking body should correspond to those characteristics.
2.4 Regression analysis
The regression model used for analysis that was suggested in Chapter 2.1 is presented
Yi = 0+1Controli+2Boardi+ui (2)
In which Yi represents dependent variables, such as return on assets (ROA) and market
capitalization. The multiple linear regression model was used in order to run the analysis.
Regression analysis was performed using STATA package. Linear regression appeared to
be the best model for all the dependent variables – return on assets and market capitalization.
After regression analysis was conducted, each variable is checked for significance accordingly to
the hypothesis formulated before. Results of the analysis are presented in the table below (Table
Table 4. Results of regression analysis
Symbols (*) and (**) correspond to level of significance of the factors – 5 and 10% respectively
Out of two models formed, only one was statistically significant, since probability of
failure was less than 5%. As for the first model with ROA acting as a dependent variable, it can
be concluded that special characteristics of foreign memners of board of directors and even a
share of foreign board members do not influence internal accounting results of a company at all.
The value brought by education of foreigners, or their professional experience does not directly
influence the financial efficiency of a company.
While analyzing results of running a regression for the second model with market
capitalization as a dependent variable, it can be claimed that accomplishment of MBA degree of
foreign board members, as well as their working experience and tenure are significant for
company's market attractiveness indicators. It can be concluded that all the four hypothesis
created above are supported with results from statistics. Probably, investors are paying much
attention to special characteristics of board members and they are possibly ready to pay more for
shares of a company, in which board there are foreign citizens with a specific level of education,
industry and diversified experience.
It is also important to mention that control variables board_size and age are statistically
significant in all the models, while share_foreign is significant only in the second model with
market capitalization as a dependent variable. It can be concluded from the analysis that both
board size and company age are positively related to its financlial results. As for the share of
foreign citizens in a board, it has a positive relationship with company market attractiveness
mrasured as market capitalization, but it has no relationship with company’s internal profitability
measured as ROA.
The study is focused on the analysis of the relationship between human capital of foreign
members of board of directors and financial performance of Russian joint-stock companies. The
formation of a proper decision-making body formed by specialists that have relevant education
and working experience is vital for any company, especially for those, operating in volatile and
unstable economic environment and during crisis time.
Usually, when the relationship between human capital characteristics and financial
performance of a company were tested empirically, results were showing that such
characteristics of human capital of board members as education, industry working experience
and tenure in the board positively influence company attractiveness for investors in some cases
as well as its internal accounting financial results, usually measured as return on assets (ROA),
or return on equity (ROE).
As far as it is an empirical study, the sample of 58 Russian joint-stock companies that
have ever been listed on Moscow stock exchange with foreign board membership was formed
and analyzed. In the chapter above, the theoretical explanation of the chosen econometric model,
research hypotheses and analysis of descriptive statistics are presented and discussed. Dependent
variables were formed using indicators of company financial performance, such as market
capitalization and return on assets (ROA).
It was detected that such characteristics of foreign members of board of directors as
accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree, tenure in the board as well as industry and diversified
working experiences have a positive influence on a firm market capitalization measured by price
per share and number of shares outstanding. It was also proven that those dependent variables –
human capital characteristics of company foreign board members do not have any impact on its
accounting results, measured as return of assets (ROA).
The results of empirical study show that in case when company is striving to increase its
attractiveness to investors, it can be assessed as a possible solution to attract foreign citizens as
as board members. This conclusion can be explained with the fact, that investors rely on and trust
more to Russian companies that have foreigners in boards of directors. It probably characterizes
a company as a less volatile to external economic and political conditions, such as economic
recession, political elections, currency crisis and the desire of other investors to bring their
money to a company. It is also seen from the obtained results of empirical study that special
characteristics of foreign citizens on company board and even their presence on the board does
not influence company performance and company effectiveness of using assets, measured by
accounting identificators, such as return on assets (ROA).
The results of the regression analysis conducted for this research are answering the
research question of the paper – is there a relationship between human capital of foreign
members of board of directors of Russian joint-stock companies and their financial performance?
The answer is that the presence of foreign board members and their human capital characteristics
positively related to company’s market capitalization, but have no relationship with return on
The results were obtained by supporting the following hypotheses:
Accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree by a foreign board member has a
positive relationship with company market capitalization;
- Tenure as a board member of a foreign citizen has a positive relationship with
company market capitalization;
- Industry working experience of a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company market capitalization;
- Diversified working experience of a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company market capitalization.
The second model with return of assets acting as a dependent variable was proven to be
insignificant by rejecting the following hypotheses:
Accomplishment of MBA/EMBA degree by a foreign board member has a
positive relationship with company ROA;
Tenure as a board member of a foreign citizen has a positive relationship
with company ROA;
Industry working experience of a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company ROA;
Diversified working experience of a foreign board member has a positive
relationship with company ROA.
Theoretical contribution of this study is the creation of statistically significant model that
can be used in evaluation of company market capitalization while having the information about
human capital characteristics of foreign citizens acting as members of board of directors in
Russian joint stock companies.
With regard to managerial implications of the research conducted, it is worth to mention
that it could be useful for companies' shareholders, CEOs and other parties (if exist) that are
participating in strategic decision-making processes, that in case when a company wants to
increase its attractiveness for investors and to increase its market capitalization, asisignment of
foreign citizens as board members can be used as a possible solution. However, if a company
has the aim to increase its accounting indicators of financial performance, the citizenship of
members of board of directors plays no role.
While discussing both theoretical and practical contributions of the research conducted,
it is worth to mention that there are certain limitations of the study, that were unavoidable
during the process of conducting the empirical research.
Firstly, the results of the study can not be assessed as universal as far as the sample size
(58 observations) is relatively small. This is based on the fact, that it was decided to analyze
only those joint-ventures that were ever listed on Moscow Exchange, that have foreign board
membership and in case there was enough information about them in the available sources of
information. Secondly, as far as only Russian joint-stock companies have been analyzed, the
results of the study conducted can be applicable only for Russia – so there is a geographical
limitation as well, because of differences in economic situation, stage of country development
and the general environment in different countries. Thirdly, due to Russian specifics, there is an
unequal distribution of companies analized among the industries as far as the majority of them
are operating in Oil&Gas, Energy and Metal&Mining markets. While applying the results of the
study on practice, it is necessary to take into account the possible inapplicability of the results
gained to the companies that are representing other industries.
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Appendix 1. Dependent and control variables
Appendix 2. Human capital characteristics