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An insight into the ‘old boy’s network’ – A case study on the perceptions of male leaders in Ireland with respect to the underrepresentation of women in Ireland’s boardrooms.

Smyth, Gemma (2014) An insight into the ‘old boy’s network’ – A case study on the perceptions of male leaders in Ireland with respect to the underrepresentation of women in Ireland’s boardrooms. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

Women are underrepresented in boardrooms around the globe but with high levels of participation in the labour market and astounding accomplishments in the education system, it is even more extraordinary how women are not gaining seats in boardrooms in Ireland. There are multiple stakeholders that influence board composition that are held accountable for women’s leadership experiences and this study provided an insight into the very positions of power that are argued responsible for women’s career paths.

This study found that what male leaders in Ireland knew about gender board diversity was diminutive and their reasons on women not progressing to top positions at a comparable rate to their male counterparts were mainly focused on traditional gender roles in Ireland and women’s pivotal role in family planning. As men hold most seats in the boardroom in Ireland today, it is imperative they understand the benefits of gender balance in the boardroom and how gender diversity can lead their organisations to future success.

While most literature in this area is based around the ‘glass-ceiling’ women face in organisations and on why women fail to be offered promotions, the purpose of this case study was to bridge the gap in literature on men’s perceptions on the topic and to ascertain male leader’s thoughts on women as capable leaders, who should be responsible for achieving better balance in boards and why gender matters in the boardroom.

The researcher conducted a multiple-case study of semi-structured interviews with male leaders that were on the board of their organisation in Ireland to gain an insight into their perceptions on the underrepresentation of females on boards in Ireland. The overall findings conveyed ‘men hiring men’ continues in organisations and most male leaders still hold conventional stereotypical ideals that all managerial positions are ‘male’ and women need stereotypical male attributes to get to the top.
While the male leaders in this work all felt women were extremely capable leaders and understood a balanced board enables every organisation to arrive at better solutions, most male leaders were against gender quotas and believed overall the responsibility was with women to change statistics on the representation of women in boards. All male leaders claimed flexible work patterns for men and women would strengthen women’s position in organisations while simultaneously strengthening male’s position in the home. However, it was felt that government intervention was required in Ireland to implement such change.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > Leadership
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > Human Resource Management > Leadership

H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Classes of Labour > Women and Work
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Claire Wallnutt
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2014 10:55
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2014 10:55
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/1768

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