Nudging towards gender equality : An application of social norms to explain female increasement in corporate boards
Sammanfattning: Title: Nudging towards gender equality: An application of social norms to explain female increasement in corporate boards. Authors: Freja Redder Petersson & Ida Eklund Level: Master thesis, 30 hp Keywords: Nudging, Social norms, Gender equality, Corporate boards Background: Sweden is regarded as one of the leading countries when it comes to gender equality, but women are still underrepresented in corporate boards in the private sector. Research argues that increasing the female representation is beneficial for companies, and it seems as if the people in the boards need to change their behavior in order to better themselves in the matter. To change behavior, social norms can be used, and in relation to this, the concept of nudgingas a way of changing behavior is a new and interesting field to look at, particularly in relationship to increasing female representation in boards. Research question: What is affecting corporate boards in the private sector to increase their female representation and to what extent is this connected to nudging? Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe how corporate boards view gender equality, explain important factors in the process of gender equality work. Further, the aim is to develop and broaden the academic field of nudging by uncovering nudge-related influences in regard to an increasement of women in corporate boards. Method: A qualitative research method was used in this study, by semi-structured interviews with ten respondents from various boards in the private sector in Sweden, and one expert in the research field. The respondent companies were chosen because of their gender equal boards. Theoretical Framework: Theories about how corporate boards function, gender equality work and effects of women entrance in boards are presented. Followed by behavioral economic-theories focusing on rational and irrational behaviors which derived the concept of nudging that are lastly discussed. Within nudging, choice architecture, social norms and loss aversion are addressed. Findings: In this study, the findings of what is affecting corporate boards in the private sector to increase their female representation is divided into two approaches. The first implies that the so-called nudge-related influences are affecting the boards, primarily with the factors of choice architecture, social norms and legal norms. These factors have been found to be greatly connected to nudging. The second approach shows the finding that two other influences, power and competence, also affects corporate boards to increase their female representation and move towards gender equality.
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