This Case Study Explores Women Representation In Organizations’ Boards Of Directors. Specifically, The Study Focuses On The Factors Impacting The Likelihood Of Female Representation On Boards Of Directors.

1103 words - 4 pages


Hillman, A. J., Shropshire, C., & Cannella, A. A. (2007). Organizational predictors of women on corporate boards. Academy of Management Journal , Vol. 50 N.4,941-952.


The Core Question

Women with education, expertise and track records that qualify them for board membership have made great strides in the corporate world in recent years. Despite advances, there are so few women on corporate boards. Why do women representation is far from uniform across organizations?.

Objectives of the study

The participation of women in corporate world has been an interesting area of research for past few decades. Although women made up of 37% of managerial workforce according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, their board representation was a meager 14.7% in Fortune 500 companies. The recent studies (Carter, Simkins, & Simpson, 2003) suggest that the gender diversity at corporate boards can improve financial performance. The question arises, having said the above, why some companies appoint female directors while others do not, why the representation is unequal compared to the working women population?. Hillman A., Shropshire C. and Cannella A. Ventured to answer some of the above questions by collecting statistics from U.S. companies from the period 1990 to 2003 using the resource dependence theory.

Methods Used and Analysis

The authors have used resource dependence theory as their approach to test the chosen hypothesizes. Resource dependence theory (Pfeffer, 1972; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) recognizes that organizations are open systems, interdependent on external entities for its survival. The board of directors are one of the interfaces between the organization and its environment that can provide valuable skills and influence to the external resources that can be accessed by an organization. A well selected board of directors can facilitate the organization to deal with uncertainty and interdependency in better fashion, according to the authors of this theory. First, the authors used resource dependence theory to identify the potential benefits of female representation on board of directors in an organization. Then, the findings were used to derive initial set organizational predictors of female representation on board of directors by linking the benefits of those findings with specific organizational characteristics. Four hypotheses were developed for the purposes of this study namely, organizational size is positively associated with the female board members, firms in industries where greater female employment base is positively associated with female board representation, level of diversification and female board representation are positively correlated and firms linked to other firms where female are on their boards are positively associated with female representation on boards.

The authors collected statistics from 1000 large (based on sales...

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