Women on board: The disregarded issue of board interlocks

PublikationArtikel (med peer review)
board, interlock, Power, women


Gender diversity is extensively debated and researched in relation to corporate boards. The focus on the gender composition on single boards neglects an important issue: that of how the power of board members is impacted by their representation on other boards. Board interlocks refer to how a board member is also represented on other companies’ boards, and such representation expectedly makes the individual board member more influential in the boardroom than non-connected board members. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether and how female board interlocks are considered in previous research on gender diversity on boards.
A systematic literature review was conducted. It comprised 71 highly cited articles. The articles were analyzed to grasp their content, and specifically, female influence in the boardroom related to power.
The literature review reveals that the interlock perspective is rare in studies on women’s board representation. This is so, even while evidence is provided that females often need companions to get their meanings across on the boards, despite how interlocks would create one link of such power, and although the literature points to how female board representation plays a part to explain performance, social responsibilities and overall strategic directions of firms.
Contributions are made to previous research by indicating the potential of further research in a largely neglected area of research while also summarizing the previous reporting on women on boards.

Öberg, C. (2021). Women on board: The disregarded issue of board interlocks. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 36(1), 39–60.

Liknande innehåll

The shape of female board representation
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Öberg, C.



Female board representation is increasingly debated in research and practice. This paper problematises how board representation as such may not be the issue, but rather how well nested the women are: that is, whether there is a difference in board members’ representation on multiple boards between women and men and how this affects the woman’s influence, or power, on a particular board. This paper relates such representations not only to whether women hold several board positions, but also to the shape of the network that the multiple representations create. The paper points at how the power of women on boards varies with (1) the existence of few or many interlocks on the board, (2) the number of representations held by the female board member, (3) the fragmented or large network that the female board member is part of, and (4) whether the network consists of direct or indirect links.

Additive manufacturing – digitally changing the global business landscape
Artikel (med peer review)Publikation
Öberg, C.


Publicerat i

Purpose: Additive manufacturing, that is, layer-based manufacturing technologies, is thought to change supply chain operations from global to local, while also affecting design processes and product structures. As this transformation happens, a power struggle among various actors relating themselves to additive manufacturing has emerged. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and explain the development of additive manufacturing from a power dependence point of view.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on data collected from a number of seminars hosting a total of 620 industry experts representing 102 companies in the area, and reflecting every step of the supply chain.

Findings: The paper points out how measures to deal and create power imbalances occur also related to indirect parties, and how the disruptive character of the supply chain leads to exercised power.

Originality/value: The power struggle provides new insights into how an emerging technology is realised and the effect of protectionism on such attempts. Specifically related to additive manufacturing, the paper illustrates the business side from various actors’ point of view, which adds to technological perspectives on additive manufacturing, as well as studies viewing the supply chain from a bird’s-eye perspective.

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