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Newly appointed directors on Swedish corporate boards: Is there a gender difference in human capital?
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine the human capital of newly appointed directors on large listed companies in Sweden between 2010-2014, focusing on if female directors bring significant and diverse human capital to boards in comparison to the males.

Research design – This study is a quantitative research with longitudinal and comparative components. Data on 166 newly appointed directors’ human capital is collected through publicly available biographical information, primarily annual reports. To allow for a comparison between the genders, directors’ human capital are quantified and categorized into the following variables: age, nationality, education, sector and professional experience, expertise profiles, top management team experience, director type, board experience and committee membership. The data analysis is performed using the chi-square-, Mann-Whitney U- and t-tests.

Findings – Between 2010-2014, more males than females are appointed to boards of large Swedish listed companies. This study finds that the newly appointed female directors bring significant, and regarding some variables, diverse human capital in comparison to their male counterparts. Further, it is revealed that CEO experience is highly sought for board appointments and that the new female directors are less likely to report this human capital.

Contribution – This study contributes with insight and knowledge about the situation of newly appointed directors in large Swedish listed companies. It provides an up to date description and gender comparison of the human capital sought in and acquired by directors. Further, the findings in this study belies some of the perceptions and stereotypes that women lack adequate human capital for board positions. Additionally, the study shows that women do not have to achieve more than men to gain a directorship.

Value – This study contributes to the board diversity and gender balance debate. Based on the findings in this study, one can argue that companies have the possibility to create gender diverse boards without neglecting merits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 51 p.
Keyword [en]
board diversity, large Swedish listed companies, corporate boards, female directors, gender, human capital, legitimacy, stereotypes
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-30002ISRN: JU-IHH-FÖA-2-2016-0187OAI: diva2:930212
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
Available from: 2016-06-10 Created: 2016-05-23 Last updated: 2016-06-10Bibliographically approved

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