European Management Journal, Volume 36, February 2018,
In the last decade, the number of women on corporate boards has increased slightly, but the prevailing minority status of women directors implies that they will continue to face social barriers. While prior research has largely focused on explaining social barriers (e.g., being categorized as an out-group member) to increase diversity and its negative consequences, how boards can avoid these obstacles remains unclear. Stemming from recategorization theory, we examine whether and to what extent board chairperson leadership efficacy and board openness (as mechanisms to avoid out-group bias) enhance the influence of women when they are in the minority in board decision-making. In a sample of 146 Norwegian firms, we found a positive relationship between women minorities and women directors’ contribution to board decision-making. Moreover, we found that this positive impact increases when the board chairperson exercises leadership and the board operates in an atmosphere of openness.