Philosophy of Management 17 (3):333-351 (2018)

Jack Dobson
University of Canberra
In recent years, the US and the EU have pursued markedly different agendas in the pursuit of board gender diversity. The EU has taken a more pro-active governmental approach of mandated quotas, whereas the US is relying largely on the endogenous mechanism of shareholder diversity proposals. Despite their obvious allure as a means of bringing about rapid change, evidence is mounting that board gender diversity quotas may yield various deleterious side effects; and quotas may not be as successful in their core aim of promoting gender diversity as initial broad statistical measures indicate. In this paper we critique the expanding EU quota regime, and consider US shareholder proposals as an alternative change mechanism for improving gender diversity in corporate boards. As an alternative to quotas, diversity resolutions are often dismissed as ineffective because the vast majority fail to formally pass. However, on closer inspection, this ‘failure’ actually results in success. Contrary to the conventional ‘folk’ wisdom -- in the quest to promote gender diversity on corporate boards, the endogenous mechanism of board diversity proposals has, to date, resulted in similar increases in gender diversity as the exogenous mechanism of government-mandated gender quotas. Furthermore, the former mechanism is more consistent with recent ‘third-wave’ feminist theory. We conclude with the policy recommendation that, rather than quotas, the EU should focus on removing the regulatory barriers that inhibit shareholder democracy.
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DOI 10.1007/s40926-017-0077-7
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References found in this work BETA

Business, Ethics, and Carol Gilligan's.Thomas I. White - 1992 - Business Ethics Quarterly 2 (1):51-61.
Toward the Feminine Firm: An Extension to Thomas White.John Dobson & Judith White - 1995 - Business Ethics Quarterly 5 (3):463-478.

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Editor’s Introduction.Wim Vandekerckhove - 2018 - Philosophy of Management 17 (3):261-264.

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