Women and Boards of Directors


Edited by:
Lynne E. Devnew, University of Phoenix
Ronald J. Burke, York University
Marlene Janzen Le Ber, Brescia University College
Mariateresa Torchia, Witten Herdecke University

A volume in the series: Women and Leadership. Editor(s): Susan R. Madsen, Utah Valley University. Karen A. Longman, Azusa Pacific University. Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Concordia College, MN.

Women and Leadership: Research, Theory, and Practice is a series of books being published to inform leadership scholars and practitioners. This publishing project represents a synergistic initiative involving the International Leadership Association, Information Age Publishing, and three leadership scholars (Drs. Susan R. Madsen, Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, and Karen A. Longman); the series emerged from the expanding work of ILA’s Women and Leadership Affinity Group.

The overall series is cross-disciplinary and represents organizational/institutional, national, and international perspectives. Each volume focuses on a specific theme, with chapters related to relevant research, theory, and practice. Across the series, a goal is to enhance knowledge and application about the leadership experiences and leadership development of women in different sectors, geographic regions, and personal/professional contexts.

The intended audiences for volumes include: (1) leadership scholars, researchers, educators, and leadership development practitioners; and (2) future, emerging, and current leaders in various sectors. Volume editors and chapter authors are committed to speaking clearly and confidently about the theory, research, and best practices in a voice that is understood by readers across a variety of settings. Research reported must be grounded in and consistent with the best and latest research.

Women and Boards of Directors is intended to change practice by mobilizing existing knowledge and presenting constructive and future-oriented ideas and strategies to the individuals who can influence the growth of women’s participation on the boards of directors of for-profit and non-profit organizations. The co-editors envision a volume that is accessible to a wide audience that includes both academics and practitioners. This volume will be useful for those who propose and set policies related to boards, those who form or serve on boards, and women who aspire to serve on boards. To meet these objectives, the language and style must be accessible to practitioner readers.

Women and Boards of Directors is a global issue, and this book will take a global perspective. It will include four sections: research related to (1) individual board members; (2) the boards of directors (3) the organizational context of the boards; and (4) the societal and global environments of the women and boards of directors. A more complete description of possible topics under each section is provided below.

An additional objective of the co-editors is to present the latest research, relevant case studies, and best practices related to for-profit and non-profit governance boards. To emphasize this, each of the four sections identified above will be introduced through a chapter authored by an invited expert who will to address the current state of research related to the section topic.

Topics to be covered in each of the volume’s four sections may include, but are not limited to:

1. Individual Board Members
• Examine background characteristics such as education, age, work experiences, sector of board participation (private, public, and non-profit);
• Explore how women’s and men’s backgrounds and experiences may be similar and different;
• Consider the effects of race, ethnicity, and intersectionality;
• Explore the influence of career paths and networks;
• Identify hindering and supporting factors relevant to women’s access to boards;
• Examine how women deal with barriers such as stereotypes, stereotype threat, and tokenism;
• Explore country and cultural differences in individual women and how it influences access to boards;
• Explore how women and men board members see women directors’ role priorities: are they women or board members first?
• Examine differences between being an inside and an outside director;
• Examine being appointed to “failing” company boards – the glass cliff; and
• Consider women’s views on why they were appointed including the effects of feeling appointed to fill a quota.

2. Boards of Directors
• Explore the similarities and differences in the backgrounds of men and women board members and what they bring to their boards;
• Examine whether and how the characteristics of women and men board members have been changing over time,
• Explore women’s and men’s views of why there are so few women on boards;
• Study the roles women play on the board, including whether the roles are stereotyped by gender;
• Understand the influences on adding women to boards such as turnover rates, board recruitment and selection processes, and board initiatives to help women prepare for and join the board;
• Explore the influence of having women board members on boardroom behaviour such as sensitivity to others’ perspectives,
• Examine the influence of women board members on the board decision making processes,
• Examine the influence of women board members on all members’ involvement and preparation;
• Describe mediating factors on the influence of women board members such as the number of women on the board, the leadership style of the Board Chair, the length of time women have served on the board, and whether women support other women on the board.
• Explore to what extent research done on team and group diversity relates to board diversity.

3. Organizational Context of the Boards
• Explore the business case for more women on corporate boards;
• Explore the influence of having women on boards on the organization’s social responsibility and reputation;
• Explore possible antecedents of women on boards such as the organization’s size, ownership structure, type (for profit, non- profit), industry;
• Describe best practices in specific industries (i.e. male-dominated mining versus industries with strong female presence);
• Understand how specific companies have addressed board gender balance issues including their strategies to increase the number of women on boards;
• Describe best practices: organizations that have been successful in evolving their board into a truly diverse board; and
• Explore the relationship between diverse boards and the senior management of the organization.

4. Societal and Global Environment of the Women and Boards
• Understand the current public policy decision debate on the relevance and wisdom of adopting coercive or enabling regulations as opposed to maintaining a voluntary approach to promote gender diversity on corporate boards; include quotas, report and explain (U.K. and Canada approach), and public opinion and interest groups (U.S. approach);
• Understand whether firms’ legal/regulatory and sociocultural context explain the mixed results on the link between women on boards and firm performance;
• Understand how the institutional environment of a country determines the set of beliefs and values shared by its citizens and impacts the proportion of women on boards;
• Underline the important role of political institutions in the adopted action to increase women on boards;
• Benchmark the progress companies operating in different countries are making increasing the representation of women on boards;
• Examine the influences of support groups among women board members (inter-board);
• Study the history or evolution of society and how that relates to women’s membership on boards, including national and global statistics; and
• Examine Women on Boards of Directors using a feminist perspective.

If you have ideas about other relevant topics, please contact Dr. Lynne Devnew at Lynne.Devnew@gmail.com.

Chapter authors for Women and Boards of Directors will be identified based on an initial proposal (described below) to be submitted electronically to the volume editors (Lynne.Devnew@gmail.com) no later than June 15, 2016 (APA 6th edition and Word-formatted). Chapter approvals will be communicated to the corresponding author by August 1, 2016. Completed invited manuscripts should be approximately 25-30 pages (6,000-8,000 words), including figures, tables, and references. Complete chapter drafts must be submitted electronically to the volume editors at Lynne.Devnew@gmail.com no later than February 15, 2017.

Chapter proposals, due June 15, 2016 should include:
• Proposed chapter title;
• Section of the book (individual, board, organization, or social and global environment) the chapter is to be considered for;
• Author(s) name, title, full contact information, and institutional affiliation (if any) and identification of the corresponding author;
• Detailed description of the chapter (500-700 words) including purpose, content, key features, and practical implications;
• List of anticipated key references;
• Short description of how the chapter will contribute to the section and the volume;
• Short biography (50-100 words) of contributing authors.