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The Importance of Network for Board Representation in Sweden: Female Presence or Female Exclusion?
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2012 (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 increase knowledge about the nature of personal connections that board members on top corporate boards in Sweden hold with the contacts that have been of most importance for their board appointment. As a consequence this study explores similarities and differences in career background, skills, expertise and networking structure of women and men on board positions.

Method - To fulfill the purpose we conduct an explorative quantitative study of qualitative nature using a survey to gather data. The survey concerns the relationship that is of self-perceived importance for the board member’s board appointment and address their experience and background. The population in our study is limited to board members from corporations that are traded on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, with a stock market value over 150 million Euros

Results – We find that board members hold weak ties with contacts that have played the most important role for their board appointment and both women and men mainly choose men as these contacts. Women on average have a higher educational level than men, while a higher proportion of men come from a professional background as an executive. 

Research Limitation - We limit our study to include self-perceived importance of contacts rather than the actual importance.

Practical Implications – Our study contribute to the debate of the slow progress of gender equality on corporate boards by acknowledging that the preference among women and men to merely socialize with other men it can be a factor that increases the barriers for women to gain a position in the top corporate boards of Sweden. By acknowledging this underlying preference more board members may actively include women in their network. Additionally, successful board appointments are derived from contacts that are located outside the close personal network. This holds especially true for women who have made it into the boardroom despite the fact that they do not socialize for leisure activities. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 58 p.
Keyword [en]
Board of Directors, Network, Gender, Career Development
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18451OAI: diva2:533484
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-01-08 Created: 2012-06-13 Last updated: 2013-01-08Bibliographically approved

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