A configurational approach to the determinants of women on boards

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Maria João Guedes ORCID logo, Alice Galamba Monteiro


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This study applies a qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to test how configurations of gender equality, masculinity, highly educated women, and happiness, alone or in different combinations, explain the presence or absence of women on the board of directors (WoB). The global solution has considerable explanatory coverage and presents four alternative combinations conducive to both the presence and absence of WoB. Overall, the results show that the absence of gender equality is almost a necessary condition for the absence of WoB. The other conditions, per se, are not enough to explain the presence or absence of WoB, but in different combinations they are. For example, the combination of highly educated women, gender equality, and happiness is the solution with a higher consistent value to explain the presence of WoB. In this study, we sought to contribute with a novel, and far-reaching way of considering the determinants of the presence of WoB, moving past the typical determinants of WoB such as board size and board independence, or board members characteristics (such as experience or age) and shifting the focus solely from the corporate context to broader social, cultural and political contexts. The study presents recommendations for academics, practitioners, and policymakers, particularly to consider different determinants of underrepresentation of WoB and how new initiatives shall be implemented to advance the field and transition to economies and societies with greater social justice and gender equality.

Keywords: Women on Boards, Fuzzy-set Qualitative Analysis, Gender Equality

Authors’ individual contribution: Conceptualization – M.J.G. and A.G.M.; Methodology – M.J.G. and A.G.M.; Software –A.G.M.; Validation – M.J.G. and A.G.M.; Formal Analysis – M.J.G. and A.G.M.; Investigation – M.J.G. and A.G.M; Writing – Original Draft –M.J.G. and A.G.M.; Writing – Review & Editing – M.J.G.; Visualization – M.J.G.; Supervision –M.J.G.; Project Administration – M.J.G.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The Authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge research support from Advance Research Center (supported through PTDC/SOC-ASO/29895/2017 and UIDB/04521/2020 project by FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal).

JEL Classification: M14, G30, G40

Received: 08.04.2020
Accepted: 01.06.2020
Published online: 02.06.2020

How to cite this paper: Guedes, M. J., & Monteiro, A. G. (2020). A configurational approach to the determinants of women on boards. Corporate Ownership & Control, 17(4), 100-109. https://doi.org/10.22495/cocv17i4art8