Joan MacLeod Heminway, Sex, Trust, and Corporate Boards

Joan MacLeod Heminway has just published Sex, Trust, and Corporate Boards in the Hastings Women’s Law Journal. This interesting article explores the ways in which men and women differ in trusting others and demonstrating trustworthiness, and how these differing styles of trusting might influence board decisonmaking when women are present or absent from the board.  It suggests that representativeness might be an important feature for both the legitimacy and the quality of board decisionmaking and that gender is one category for which representativeness might matter.  Here is the abstract:

This article collects and interprets social science research on sex and trust and uses this work to shed new light on the emerging case for gender diversity on corporate boards. Specifically, the article describes social science research findings indicating (1) that men and women trust and are trustworthy on different bases and (2) that there is a bias against women in chief executive officer (and potentially other corporate leadership) positions. Based on this research, the nature of corporate management and control, and current legal scholarship on corporate governance, the article asserts that gender diversity on corporate boards may be desirable but difficult to attain. Ultimately, the article calls for more targeted research on the links among sex, trusting behavior, trustworthiness, and corporate board membership and also recommends that boards of directors pursue gender diversification in filling vacancies and new board slots as a means of diversifying trust in the corporation.

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