Women on New Zealand corporate boards
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
Replicating and extending Singh and Vinnicombe (2006), the primary problems addressed in this research are: What factors influence women's attainment of corporate directorships? And what are the proportions of female executive and non-executive directors and CEOs in New Zealand? Executive directors are company employees who attain board directorships via progressing through CEO and other top management roles; therefore, this study included an investigation of the proportion of women in executive and non-executive director and CEO roles in New Zealand companies. To understand women's non-progression to corporate boards, 11 male and female directors were interviewed. Contrary to international research findings, the majority of interviewees in this study emphasised the importance of networks in attaining corporate directorships in New Zealand. Explanations for women's under-representation on corporate boards included lack of networks, family commitments, pipeline theory, lack of aspiration for power, career choices, risk adversity, male organisational culture, discrimination and women's unsuitability for director roles. Archival analysis indicated that of a total of 1366 corporate directors, women constituted 88 (6.44%) directorships. Women held 64 non-executive (4.69% of total directorships), 23 executive (1.68% of total directorships) and one alternate directorship. The findings indicated that there were only five women CEOs and only five out of a total of 240 New Zealand corporate boards achieved gender equality. Social identity theory was used to provide insight into this change resistant phenomenon.