Appointing Women to Boards: Is There a Cultural Bias?

18 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2015

See all articles by Amalia Carrasco Gallego

Amalia Carrasco Gallego

University of Seville

Claude Francoeur

HEC Montréal

Réal Labelle

HEC Montréal - Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Governance

Joaquina Laffarga

University of Seville

Emiliano Ruiz-Barbadillo

University of Cadiz

Date Written: January 1, 2015

Abstract

Companies that are serious about corporate governance and business ethics are turning their attention to gender diversity at the most senior levels of business (Institute of Business Ethics, Business Ethics Briefing 21:1, 2011). Board gender diversity has been the subject of several studies carried out by international organizations such as Catalyst (Increasing gender diversity on boards: Current index of formal approaches, 2012), the World Economic Forum (Hausmann et al., The global gender gap report, 2010), and the European Board Diversity Analysis (Is it getting easier to find women on European boards? 2010). They all lead to reports confirming the overall relatively low proportion of women on boards and the slow pace at which more women are being appointed. Furthermore, the proportion of women on corporate boards varies much across countries. Based on institutional theory, this study hypothesizes and tests whether this variation can be attributed to differences in cultural settings across countries. Our analysis of the representation of women on boards for 32 countries during 2010 reveals that two cultural characteristics are indeed associated with the observed differences. We use the cultural dimensions proposed by Hofstede (Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values, 1980) to measure this construct. Results show that countries which have the greatest tolerance for inequalities in the distribution of power and those that tend to value the role of men generally exhibit lower representations of women on boards.

Keywords: Culture, Board of directors, Gender, Gender diversity, Diversity, Corporate governance

JEL Classification: G30, M10, M14

Suggested Citation

Carrasco Gallego, Amalia and Francoeur, Claude and Labelle, Réal and Laffarga, Joaquina and Ruiz-Barbadillo, Emiliano, Appointing Women to Boards: Is There a Cultural Bias? (January 1, 2015). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 129, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2643861.

Amalia Carrasco Gallego

University of Seville ( email )

Avda. del Cid s/n
Sevilla, Sevilla 41004
Spain

Claude Francoeur (Contact Author)

HEC Montréal ( email )

3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal H3T 2A7, Quebec
Canada

Réal Labelle

HEC Montréal - Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Governance ( email )

3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal, Quebec H3T 2A7
Canada
514 340 6374 (Phone)

Joaquina Laffarga

University of Seville ( email )

Avda. del Cid s/n
Sevilla, Sevilla 41004
Spain

Emiliano Ruiz-Barbadillo

University of Cadiz ( email )

Cadiz
Spain

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