Women on corporate boards: a comparative institutional analysis

Johanne Grosvold, Bruce Rayton, Stephen Brammer

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How do a country’s basic institutions enable or hinder women’s rise to the boards of public companies? The study evaluates this question with
reference to the five basic institutions which research suggests are common across all countries: education, family, religion, economy and the government. Our sample consists of 23 countries and the study is framed in institutional theory. In analyzing the role of these institutions the paper seeks to understand better the relationships between individual institutions and the share of board seats held by women. The results suggest that four of the five basic institutions are related to the share of board seats women hold. In particular, the institutions of education, government, economy and family influence women’s rise to the board.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1196
Number of pages40
JournalBusiness & Society
Issue number8
Early online date3 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Sustainability
  • corporate board diversity
  • corporate boards
  • board demography
  • institutional theory
  • women on boards


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