Changing the Corporate Elite? Not so Easy: Female Directors’ Appointments onto Corporate Boards

Journal of Business Ethics (Forthcoming)

IFN Working Paper No. 978

34 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2013 Last revised: 29 Jul 2015

See all articles by Aleksandra Gregoric

Aleksandra Gregoric

Copenhagen Business School

Lars Oxelheim

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); University of Agder; Knut Wicksell Center for Financial Studies, Lund University

Trond Randøy

University of Agder - School of Management

Steen Thomsen

Copenhagen Business School

Date Written: September 19, 2013

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.

Keywords: social identity, board of director, gender diversity

JEL Classification: D22, F23, F66, G34, M16

Suggested Citation

Gregoric, Aleksandra and Oxelheim, Lars and Randøy, Trond and Thomsen, Steen, Changing the Corporate Elite? Not so Easy: Female Directors’ Appointments onto Corporate Boards (September 19, 2013). Journal of Business Ethics (Forthcoming); IFN Working Paper No. 978 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2328151 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2328151

Aleksandra Gregoric (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Porcelænshaven 24
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Lars Oxelheim

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

P.O. Box 55665
SE-10215 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 665 4527 (Phone)
+46 8 665 4599 (Fax)

University of Agder ( email )

Serviceboks 422
N-4604 Kristiansand, VEST AGDER 4604
Norway

Knut Wicksell Center for Financial Studies, Lund University ( email )

P.O.Box 7080
S-220 07 Lund
Sweden
+46462228744 (Phone)

Trond Randøy

University of Agder - School of Management ( email )

Adger Research Foundation
Serviceboks 422 Bygg H
N-4604 Kristiansand
Norway
47 3814 1027 (Phone)

Steen Thomsen

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Porcelaenshaven 24A
Copenhagen, 2000
Denmark
+45 38152590 (Phone)
+45 38152500 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
124
Abstract Views
661
rank
227,612
PlumX Metrics