Why and when female directors are less engaged in their board duties: An interface perspective

Michelle Weck*, Dennis Veltrop, Jana Oehmichen, Floor Rink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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Female representation on boards is perhaps one of the most studied topics in board-governance research. At the same time, much is unknown about female directors' task engagement within boards. Drawing from psychological theory on societal gender beliefs, our study tests whether the impact of director gender on supervisory task engagement hinges on status dynamics in two relational interfaces: the director–board interface and the director–CEO interface. According to this perspective, female directors show less task engagement because gender is a diffuse status cue that creates status differentiation within the director–board interface. Multi-source board survey data (n = 61 boards, n = 315 directors) confirms that, within the confines of the boardroom, female directors do, indeed, receive lower-status ratings than male directors. This effect is weaker when boards have a female chair. Furthermore, lower status explains perceived lower task engagement of female directors, but this link critically hinges on the CEO–director interface. The impact of status differences is more pronounced when directors intersect with a relatively dominant CEO. All in all, the results demonstrate that relational interfaces play a key role for female directors’ task engagement in their board duties.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102123
Number of pages20
JournalLong Range Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2022

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