Lean in: The antecedents and consequences of female directors’ attainment of powerful positions on boards

Office of Alumni and External Relations    2021-10-18

Subject: Lean in: The antecedents and consequences of female directors’ attainment of powerful positions on boards

Guest: Jooyoung Kim, doctoral candidate, Michigan State University

Host: Fei Li, Assistant Professor, Antai

Time: Friday, Oct 22, 2021, 09:30-11:00

Venue: Tecent Meeting (Please send email to for meeting number and password)


With the heightened societal demand for promoting egalitarian values in corporate boards, firms have devoted much effort to improving the female board representation. However, recent insights have suggested that some progress made thus far may be the result of firms’ symbolic conformity to external pressure, which alludes to the possibility that female directors’ low influence and lack of integration on boards may still persist. Therefore, questions concerning whether and how female directors’ influence and power can be improved deserve a separate scholarly attention. In this dissertation, I aim to develop a theoretical model of what determines and follows female directors’ attainment of power and influence, as reflected in their assignment to major committee member or chair positions. First, I develop a theory arguing that female directors are at a relative disadvantage in attaining major committee positions. Specifically, I suggest that, although directors in general can benefit from expertise cues to be assigned to committee positions, the benefits are less for females than males. This gap can be attenuated when females are similar to board members in terms of other demographic dimensions and when the board is demographically heterogeneous. Second, I develop predictions about how female representation on board committee positions can contribute to gender diversity on boards and firm performance. I theorize that greater female representation on board committees has negative associations with a female director’s likelihood of exit, and has positive associations with female additions to the board and firm performance.


Jooyoung Kim is a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University.  Her research interest is primarily on strategic leadership (i.e., CEOs, top management teams, and boards of directors) —specifically on how executives’ personal characteristics, both at the surface- and deep-levels, can impact the organization at different levels. Her specific themes center on the diversity and inclusion issues of the strategic leaders (i.e., surface-level characteristics), and the impact of strategic leaders' personal characteristics on various firm stakeholders (i.e., deep-level characteristics).

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