Women’s Underrepresentation in Corporate Power in Norway and US: Beyond In-group Favoritism





Work/Life Balance, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Organization & Management


Despite increasing gender-equality in many areas, corporate power is still strongly male-dominated. Prevailing research often relies on the cognitive, demand-side mechanism of in-group favoritism based on single-country studies to produce generalized explanations of men’s dominance in top management and to recommend remedies, such as gender quotas on boards. However, existing research findings are mixed. We contribute to the research field by analyzing original data from 457 large companies in Norway and the US, examining associations of the gender-composition on boards and in the actual Executive Committees. The predictions of in-group favoritism are partly supported in the US, but largely not supported for Norwegian companies with gender-balanced boards due to quotas. We argue that in-group favoritism is an incomplete explanation. We call for research examining the organizational and societal processes curtailing the supply of qualified women for top-executive positions, across national and regulatory contexts and organizational levels.

Author Biographies

Sigtona Halrynjo, Institute for Social Research

Senior research fellow. E-mail: sigtona.halrynjo@samfunnsforskning.no

Mary Blair-Loy, UC San Diego



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Women’s Underrepresentation in Corporate Power Sigtona Halrynjo and Mary Blair-Loy

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How to Cite

Halrynjo, S., & Blair-Loy, M. (2021). Women’s Underrepresentation in Corporate Power in Norway and US: Beyond In-group Favoritism. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies. https://doi.org/10.18291/njwls.128592