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Bolder Policies for Diversity at the Top?
Bolder policies for diversity at the top?
Has the time come for bolder policies at the top of the corporation? The path breaking study by Rosabeth Moss Kanter proposed that women would not have easy access to top management since they lacked critical mass. In almost all countries, the percentage of female CEOs is less than 5 percent and female board directors hover between 10 percent and 15 percent. Given that university graduates are now more than 50 percent female and the labor forces are also nearly equally divided by gender, the lack of penetration of women to the top of the corporation is stunning.
The implication, sometimes contested, is that there are simply not enough women to change beliefs and clubs that influence the selection of top officers of the corporation. As of 2008, Norway imposed penalties for public and state-owned enterprises that failed to achieve a target of 40 percent of directors to be female. The few studies done on this experiment, which is being implemented elsewhere in Europe, indicate that the social justice goals of quotas also impose costs. In some cases, firms anticipated these costs and exited Norway or public listings; for those that stayed, one study showed that financial performance fell. At the same time, other research indicates that increasing diversity improves performance and increasing women changes the agenda of issues to be addressed and improves governance. What do we know about bold policies for creating diversity at the top of the corporation? What is the effect of these policies?
This conference, jointly organized by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Ethics and Leadership, brought together academic and practitioner thought leaders to discuss what research and experience has told us about ways to increase diversity at the top. The conference takes for granted that diversity has an important property of social justice and other benefits, but to this adds the question at what cost to private liberties and economic performance. This half-day event began with a keynote address followed by two panels and active debate.
Friday December 10, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Venue: The Italian Academy
Co-hosted by: The Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
|8:00 – 8:15 AM|
Breakfast and Conference Registration
|8:15 – 8:30 AM|
Welcome and Introduction
|8:30 – 9:30 AM|
|9:30 – 11:00 AM|
Mona Lena Krook
(15 minute presentations, 30 minute Q & A)
|11:00– 11:15 AM|
|11:15 – 12:15 PM|
Industry Leaders Session: "Recruiting for Boards and CEOs"
|12:15 – 12:30 PM|
Research faculty who would like to learn more about this symposium can contact: leadershipethics (AT) gsb (DOT) columbia (DOT) edu.
Related Academic papers
Beaman, Lori, Chattopadhyay, Raghabendra, Duflo, Esther, Pande, Rohini and Topalova, Petia, Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 2009, Vol. 124, No. 4, Pages 1497–1540.
Ahern, Kenneth R. and Dittmar, Amy K., The Changing of the Boards: The Value Effect of a Massive Exogenous Shock, May 19, 2010.
Dezso, Cristian and Ross, David, Female Participation in Top Management and Firm Performance, August 2008.
Belinky, Mariano and Kogut, Bruce, "Corporate Boards and Gender: An Analysis of Attaining Structural Equality among Women and Men by Quotas", 2010, Working paper.
Harrigan, Kathryn R., Numbers and Positions of Women Elected to Corporate Boards, Academy of Management Journal, 1981, 24: 619–625.
Krook, Mona Lena, Quota Laws for Women in Politics: Implications for Feminist Practice, 2008, Social Politics 15 (3): 345–368
Watch the trailer for our interactive debate entitled “Financial Innovation: A Risky Business?”
February 28, 2014
Inclusive Growth for Entrepreneurs
The Small Worlds of Corporate Governance
Identifies "structural breaks" — privatization, for example, or globalization — and assesses why powerful actors across countries behave similarly or differently in terms of network properties and corporate governance.
View the Bernstein Center brochure, Ethical Challenges in Business