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Title: Women on boards : the role of social capital and networking in corporate board director selection processes
Author: Bushell, Merly A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 9969
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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There remains a paucity of women in both executive and non-executive director roles in British boardrooms. This research explores how far this is explained by differences in levels of social capital and networking activities between men and women seeking boardroom positions. While it is known that social capital is important at junior and middle management levels (with existing research showing that the quality of men’s and women’s networks differ, and that women are not able to leverage their networks to the same extent as their male colleagues) no rigorous academic research on this issue has been conducted specifically at corporate board level, largely due to the difficulty of securing access to respondents. This thesis addresses the gap in the literature by drawing on data gathered from 82 semistructured interviews with Chairs, head-hunters and aspiring or recently appointed male and female directors. The research questions asked: what is the role of social capital and networking in corporate board selection processes; how far can Human Capital Theory, Preference Theory, Attribution Theory and Self-Efficacy explain the lack of progress of senior women to board level roles?; do aspiring female directors have poorer quality networks and less social capital than their male peers; why might this be; and are female aspiring directors as willing and able to leverage their social capital as their male peers. The findings affirm the importance of social capital theory in relation to selection to boardroom roles. Preference Theory, Human Capital Theory and Attribution Theory and Self-Efficacy are not found to explain the lack of promotion of senior female executives to board director positions. Other key contributions include insights into board director selection processes, the effectiveness of regulatory and voluntary codes, and gender differences in networking and job seeking activities of aspiring directors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; HM Sociology