Research Handbook of International and Comparative Perspectives on Diversity Management
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Research Handbook of International and Comparative Perspectives on Diversity Management

Edited by Alain Klarsfeld, Eddy S. Ng, Lize A.E. Booysen, Liza Castro Christiansen and Bård Kuvaas

This Research Handbook offers, for the first time, a comparative approach to current diversity management concerns facing nations. Spanning 19 countries and across Africa, it covers age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, national origin and the intersection of various dimensions of diversity. The multicultural and multi-country teams of contributors, leading scholars in their own countries, examine how the various actors react, adopt and manage the different dimensions of diversity, from a multitude of approaches, from national to sectoral and from tribes to trade unions, but always with a comparative, multi-country perspective.
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Chapter 10: A comparative study of five countries with critical mass and its ambiguous impact on HRM policies

Terry A. Nelson, Kori Callison and Allison Freswick


The insufficient representation of women on boards continues to be a much-discussed topic globally. Many countries are taking note of this deficiency and are implementing laws and corporate governance to increase women’s presence on boards. Norway was the first country to champion this cause, and put legislation in place in 2003 to politically pressure companies to achieve 40 percent gender equality in boardrooms. Other countries have followed suit, utilizing an array of approaches to achieve diversity objectives. Research suggests that obtaining a critical mass of females (three or more) on corporate boards may have beneficial outcomes, such as encouraging strategy that focuses on organizational practices and policies. These policies may include human resource policies that support working women and mothers. We take a comparative look at whether a mandate of boardroom gender equality in five European countries (France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and Italy) suggests a link between critical mass and decision-making as it relates to HRM policies. Although the potential of critical mass to help employees with work–life concerns seems promising, the possible limitations and ramifications of obtaining a critical mass of women are also discussed.

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