Why women on corporate boards are more than just tokens: an Indian perspective

Bhardwaj, Sneh, Morgan, Damian, and Elms, Natalie (2024) Why women on corporate boards are more than just tokens: an Indian perspective. Gender in Management. (In Press)

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-12-2022-0384


Purpose: Situated in the context of India, where women’s representation on corporate boards remains low, this study aims to explore whether and how tokenism impacts the behaviours of female directors.

Design/methodology/approach: The boardroom experiences and perceptions of 14 women directors are explored through semi-structured interviews and analysed using an inductive and interpretive process. Also, to get a counter perspective and avoid the social desirability bias from the women participants’ responses, 16 men directors are interviewed.

Findings: The study finds that, as gender minorities, women directors' visibility on boards can create performance pressures on these women. To counter gender-based prejudices, women directors consciously alter their behaviours and project both male and female traits consistent with the director role. By doing so, women directors overcome tokenistic stereotypes and are accepted as part of the director in-group, irrespective of their numeric representation on the board.

Practical implications: The research has implications for governments attempting to increase women’s board presence through affirmative actions and for firms aiming to improve the gender diversity of their board composition.

Originality/value: These findings present an alternative perspective on women directors’ board behaviour by exploring the applicability of Western trends on tokenism and critical mass in the context of India, adding to the vast body of literature concerned with minorities on corporate boards.

Item ID: 82572
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1754-2421
Keywords: Women on corporate boards, Stereotyping, Tokenism, Critical mass theory, India
Copyright Information: © Emerald Publishing Limited.
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2024 02:50
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350701 Corporate governance @ 70%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4405 Gender studies > 440599 Gender studies not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 15 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 1503 Management and productivity > 150399 Management and productivity not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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