Stakeholder perceptions of the "right" pathway for women to corporate board membership
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In 2010, a forum on Women on Boards was convened in Australia to discuss ways different countries were addressing the lack of women on boards and to interrogate changes to the governance reporting requirements in Australia. Researchers from Australia, UK, USA, NZ and Norway met with key corporate governance stakeholders from top listed Australian company boards as well as professional associations and consultants working in this area. This paper adds to the scant research on the board appointment pathway through its focus on the pathways to the corporate boardrooms of Australia, as perceived by these key stakeholders. A model of participants’ perceptions of the pathway to the boardroom is presented where the key influences in gaining a board appointment are i) The Right Experience, ii) The Skill Set, iii) Knowing Someone and iv) Fitting In. Gaining a corporate board appointment requires a combination and interaction of the ‘right’ experience, ‘appropriate’ skills, an effective network and the ability to fit in. Underlying this view of the pathway to the boardroom is that merit underpinned board selection processes. Notwithstanding increased public debate and changes in corporate governance reporting requirements, an uncritical acceptance of the status quo and a continued discourse of competence were evident.
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