25 November 2016 | Report

Gender participation and influence in corporate governance networks in Vietnam


Corporate governance involves efforts to ensure that corporate objectives are met, and that the interests of shareholders and other corporate stakeholders are upheld. Given the significant accountability of corporate boards for the management and control of capital, studies have explored the implications of board composition and diversity on outcomes such as risk, decision-making, corporate social responsibility practices, and firm performance, among others.

Strong boards are also seen to exert significant influence on corporate culture and organisational management practices. In light of the size and scope of some of the largest corporations in the world, the influence of corporate boards on the domestic and interconnected global economy cannot be underestimated.


Reflecting its European influences, corporate governance in Vietnam is characterised by mixed board structures. Some companies in the country opt to have a supervisory board that is separate to a management board, while others establish a single board tasked with both control and management functions. The report finds that there are 689 supervisory board seats occupied by 628 different individuals in the top 100 corporations of Vietnam. A company typically appoints seven directors to its board, with the smallest board composed of three directors and the largest composed of 12 directors.

Of all the board seats of the top 100 corporations, only 130 (or around 19%) are women. On average, women tend to comprise around 20% of the supervisory boards of individual companies. Notably, however, 34% of the companies have boards that are composed only of men. While this proportion is lower compared to some other Southeast Asian countries, there remains significant opportunity for companies to increase gender participation and reap the benefits of greater gender balance in corporate boards in the country.

In Vietnam, the corporate governance network of the top 100 corporations is relatively fragmented. Around 9% of the corporate directors in Vietnam (a total of 54 individuals) sit on at least two boards. Of these most connected directors, only nine (or around 17%) are women. Men generally occupy the most connected positions in the network, however the most connected woman in the network holds four directorships, which is exactly at par with the most connected male director.

While the analysis shows that women occupy influential network positions, the data also clearly points to significant opportunities to increase the participation of women in supervisory board membership in the country. Previous studies elsewhere have found higher levels of gender diversity at the board level to have positive effects on stock value and profitability, among others. This may be attributed to improvements in decision-making processes as a result of the board having a more diverse set of skills, experiences and perspectives to draw upon.




  • Principles of corporate governance
  • The case of Vietnam
    • Vietnam’s top 100 corporate boards
    • Gender participation in supervisory boards
    • Industry differences
  • Corporate governance networks
    • Connectedness and ‘betweenness’
  • Implications

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