Corporate Governance: An International Review

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320 Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2009, 17(3): 320–337

Women Directors on Corporate Boards: A Review and Research Agenda
Siri Terjesen*, Ruth Sealy and Val Singh
ABSTRACT Manuscript Type: Review Research Question/Issue: This review examines how gender diversity on corporate boards influences corporate governance outcomes that in turn impact performance. We describe extant research on theoretical perspectives, characteristics, and impact of women on corporate boards (WOCB) at micro, meso, and macro levels: individual, board, firm, and industry/ environment. Research Finding/Results: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive review of WOCBs, incorporating and integrating research from over 400
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© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd doi:10.1111/j.1467-8683.2009.00742.x



TABLE 1 Women on Corporate Boards: Review Structure Theory Individual Human Capital Status Characteristics Gender Self-Schema Social Identity Social Network and Social Cohesion Gendered Trust Ingratiation Leadership Resource Dependency Institutional Agency Characteristics Demographics Social Capital Human Capital Structure and Size Roles Composition Impact Tokens and minority members Role models Diversity supporters Governance performance Decision making Behaviors and culture Independence Skills, knowledge and experience Financial performance (announcements, “glass cliff” effect) Shareholders and ethical investors Corporate responsibility and philanthropy Organizational legitimacy and corporate reputation Other women (networks, mentors, inspirational role models) Recruitment and retention Citizens Talent Symbols in media



Size Stakeholder distribution Performance

Industry and Environment

Institutional Critical Management

International differences Within-country differences Private vs Public initiatives Cultural attitudes, infrastructure and public policy Economic environment

Female representation in corporate decision making is an important issue for policymakers. For example, the Norwegian government requires that boards of directors of publicly held
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