Breaking the glass ceiling : How to increase diversity in boards of directors in small and medium-sized enterprises in Denmark

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Malmö universitet/Institutionen för Urbana Studier (US)

Sammanfattning: Breaking the glass ceiling of boards of directors has been a hot topic globally for over a decade without any significant results. With an increase in demand for sustainable companies, the current composition of most of the boards of directors is contradictory, where homogeneous boards of directors are more a rule than an exception. Contradicting the fact that diverse teams are proven to make better, long-termed, and more sustainable decisions. Small and medium-sized enterprises are often neglected in the debate to increase diversity in boards of directors, even though they hold most of all boards of directors’ positions. Investigating the small and medium-sized enterprises this paper aims to explore how to break the glass ceiling of the boards of directors in Denmark. Similar to Norway where quotas with boardrooms have been introduced in 2008, this study also wants to reexamine the general attitude towards hard legislation or find alternatives in form of other legislation in Denmark. Therefore, it is essential to understand the dynamics and habits of the boards of directors. This study has through semi-structured interviews investigated the culture of boards of directors to find the barriers of the boardrooms and how to break them down. A recruitment company has tried to offer a new way of recruiting for boards of directors through open positions. Here has the researchers conducted qualitative research to investigate their impact on gender and age in boards of directors, to see if the open positions can exhilarate the implementation of diversity in the board rooms. The results of the study show that there is a need to educate small and medium-sized enterprises on the benefits of diverse boards of directors. The boards of directors are primarily recruited through networks of its members, making it difficult to increase diversity. The reason for recruiting through networks is primarily due to a lack of understanding of both the function of boards of directors and a wish to keep the information of the company close to themselves. The overall attitude towards legislation is mixed with a small overweight against quotas. Mainly from an individual point of view is quotas are seen as an undesirable means for increasing diversity in boards of directors. The recruitment company has been proven cable of recruiting younger candidates. However, not significantly change the percentages of female representations where only a slight increase of women in some positions is seen.

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