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Changing the Corporate Elite? Not So Easy. Female Directors’ Appointments onto Corporate Boards

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Author Info

  • Gregoric, Aleksandra

    ()
    (Department of International Economics and Management)

  • Oxelheim, Lars

    ()
    (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

  • Randøy, Trond

    (University of Agder)

  • Thomsen, Steen

    (Department of International Economics and Management)

Abstract

Scholars have previously investigated country and organizational-level factors associated with the incidence of female directors on boards. These studies, however, cannot explain why, in countries with strong gender equality and pressure for female directorships, firms are still hesitant to promote new women to their boards. To address this issue we – in this study – introduce the cognitive and affective processes related to directors’ identification with the traditional corporate elite as an explanation for the slow organizational response to pressure for gender diversity on boards. We bridge the social identity and critical mass theory to further show how these responses may vary with the current composition of the board. Viewing the board as a locus for the maintenance of the positive distinctiveness of the established corporate elite, we conjecture that new female appointments will not only depend on the current share of women on board but also on the current (minority) share of board positions held by male directors who are not prototypical of the established elite. We also uncover how this relationship is moderated by the share of institutional investors’ ownership. We test and support these propositions on a sample of 387 publicly traded Nordic corporations during 2001–2008.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 978.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 19 Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0978

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Keywords: Social identity; Board of director; Gender diversity;

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  1. Armand Picou & Michael Rubach, 2006. "Does Good Governance Matter to Institutional Investors? Evidence from the Enactment of Corporate Governance Guidelines," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 55-67, 04.
  2. Lars Oxelheim & Aleksandra Gregorič & Trond Rand�y & Steen Thomsen, 2013. "On the internationalization of corporate boards: The case of Nordic firms," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(3), pages 173-194, April.
  3. Adams, Renée B. & Ferreira, Daniel, 2009. "Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 291-309, November.
  4. Winfried Ruigrok & Simon Peck & Sabina Tacheva & Peder Greve & Yan Hu, 2006. "The Determinants and Effects of Board Nomination Committees," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 119-148, 05.
  5. Mariateresa Torchia & Andrea Calabrò & Morten Huse, 2011. "Women Directors on Corporate Boards: From Tokenism to Critical Mass," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 102(2), pages 299-317, August.
  6. Amon Chizema & Yoshikatsu Shinozawa, 2012. "The ‘Company with Committees’: Change or Continuity in Japanese Corporate Governance?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 77-101, 01.
  7. Amy J. Hillman, 2000. "The Resource Dependence Role of Corporate Directors: Strategic Adaptation of Board Composition in Response to Environmental Change," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(2), pages 235-256, 03.
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