In the Shadow of Social Stereotypes: Gender diversity on corporate boards, board chair’s gender and strategic change

Jatinder S. Sidhu*, Ying Feng, Henk W. Volberda, Frans A.J. Van Den Bosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Against the backdrop of spirited public and academic discourse about women’s low visibility in corporate leadership positions, we examine board gender diversity’s influence on strategic change in firms. Viewing gender as an institutionalized system of social beliefs, the article makes two related arguments. First, it contends that because of gender status difference and bias, more gender diversity will result in less strategic change as a board’s decisions begin to follow the stance of a smaller but relatively more influential ‘boy’s club’. Second, it contends that should a board have a female chair as opposed to a male chair, a recession in the shadow of gender stereotypes will reverse board gender diversity’s negative effect on strategic change. Instrumental variables analysis of data from Fortune 500 firms supports the theory. We discuss the study’s contributions and implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1677-1698
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • female board directors
  • gender diversity
  • gender equality
  • gender quotas
  • women in leadership roles

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