Board ethnic diversity and goodwill impairment decisions: longitudinal analysis of energy firms in Malaysia

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The present study investigates whether ethnic diversity among firms’ directors influences the decision to take goodwill write-offs, after considering the economic factors of impairment (measured in terms of the market capitalization indicator), reporting incentives, and firms’ internal governance. The analysis focuses on energy firms in Malaysia from 2006 to 2018. The regressions results based on binary logistics show that energy firms are less likely to take goodwill write-offs even when the market indicates the possibility for the write-offs. The results also show the absence of the direct relationship between goodwill impairment decisions and ethnic diversity of the board of directors. Nevertheless, the results reveal that board ethnicity moderates the relationship between firms’ goodwill impairment decisions and the market capitalization indicator, suggesting that as firms encounter increasing market indicator of impairment losses, the board with diverse ethnicity positively influences firms in taking goodwill write-offs. The results of the present study add to the literature on board diversity and firms’ decisions with regard to goodwill impairment by highlighting the beneficial roles of having ethnically diverse board of directors, in that they use the market indicator that goodwill may be impaired in their monitoring role on the goodwill impairment decisions. The results offer input to the policymakers by suggesting that to strengthen the monitoring roles of the board of directors, they need to be diverse and equipped with indicators that would assist them in their monitoring decisions.

Acknowledgement
The author acknowledges’ the research funding (i.e., FRGS grant 13591 provided via Universiti Utara Malaysia) from the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia.

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    • Table 1. Variable definitions
    • Table 2. Summary statistics and univariate tests
    • Table 3. Pearson correlation coefficients
    • Table 4. Logistic regression results for energy firms’ decisions in taking goodwill impairment losses
    • Conceptualization
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Data curation
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Formal Analysis
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Funding acquisition
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Investigation
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Methodology
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Project administration
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Resources
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Software
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Validation
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Visualization
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Writing – original draft
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid
    • Writing – review & editing
      Jamaliah Abdul-Majid