For the Few Not the Many? The Effect of Affirmative Action on Presence, Prominence, and Social Capital of Women Directors in Norway

Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 27, No. 1

21 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009 Last revised: 2 Oct 2010

See all articles by Cathrine Seierstad

Cathrine Seierstad

Queen Mary University of London

Tore Opsahl

Imperial College London - Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology Management

Date Written: October 1, 2010

Abstract

Governments have implemented various affirmative action policies to address vertical sex segregation in organizations. A gender representation law was introduced in Norway, which required public limited companies’ boards to have at least 40 percent representation of each sex by 2008. This law acted as an external shock, and this paper aims to explore its effects. In particular, it explores the gender bias, the emergence and sex of prominent directors, and directors’ social capital. We utilize data from May 2002 to August 2009 to analyze these aspects. The implied intention of the law was to create a larger pool of women acting as directors on boards, and the law has had the effect of increasing the representation of women on boards. However, it has also created a small elite of women directors who rank among the top on a number of proxies of influence.

Keywords: affirmative action, board of directors, Norway, prominence, social capital, women

Suggested Citation

Seierstad, Cathrine and Opsahl, Tore, For the Few Not the Many? The Effect of Affirmative Action on Presence, Prominence, and Social Capital of Women Directors in Norway (October 1, 2010). Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 27, No. 1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1420639

Cathrine Seierstad

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Tore Opsahl (Contact Author)

Imperial College London - Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology Management ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom
+44 20 7594 3035 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://toreopsahl.com

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