LEAVE THE TOKEN, TAKE THE GAVEL: HOW POLITICAL IDEOLOGY AND INFORMAL SOCIETAL INSTITUTIONS SHAPE GENDER DIVERSITY ON MAJOR BOARD COMMITTEES

42 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2023

See all articles by Patricio Duran

Patricio Duran

University of Richmond

Roxana Turturea

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Jean‐Luc Arregle

EM LYON Business School

Marc Van Essen

University of South Carolina - Department of International Business; EMLYON Business School

Date Written: November 8, 2022

Abstract

While gender diversity on the board of directors (BODs) has increased in recent years, the representation of women on major board committees has advanced at a slower pace. This indicates ‘policy decoupling,’ a form of tokenism whereby firms appoint women to their BODs to comply with regulatory and societal pressures but deny them access to positions of substantive influence. However, policy decoupling varies across societies, and women are more likely to ‘take the gavel’ in certain contexts than in others. We present a theory explaining how incumbent governments’ political ideology, in isolation and in conjunction with the informal societal institutions of gender equality values and civil society participation, shapes policy decoupling. Our findings show that female representation in major board committees, relative to the overall percentage of women on BODs, is higher in countries ruled by left-leaning governments. Contrastingly, gender equality values weaken this positive effect, pointing to a diffusion of responsibility between government and society in tackling gender inequality. Lastly, civil society participation does not weaken the focal relationship, likely because strong civil society actors vigilantly prevent left-leaning governments from shifting responsibility for including women in positions of real influence elsewhere.

Keywords: political ideology, female on major board committees, female on board

Suggested Citation

Duran, Patricio and Turturea, Roxana and Heugens, Pursey P.M.A.R. and Arregle, Jean-Luc and Van Essen, Marc, LEAVE THE TOKEN, TAKE THE GAVEL: HOW POLITICAL IDEOLOGY AND INFORMAL SOCIETAL INSTITUTIONS SHAPE GENDER DIVERSITY ON MAJOR BOARD COMMITTEES (November 8, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4665043 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4665043

Patricio Duran (Contact Author)

University of Richmond ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

Roxana Turturea

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pursey P.M.A.R. Heugens

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2365 (Phone)
0031 10 408 9012 (Fax)

Jean-Luc Arregle

EM LYON Business School ( email )

23 Avenue Guy de Collongue
Ecully, 69132
France

Marc Van Essen

University of South Carolina - Department of International Business

United States

EMLYON Business School

23 Avenue Guy de Collongue
Ecully, 69132
France

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