Soft-law approach to gender balance on British boards: Directors’ perspective

Rita Goyal, Nada Kakabadse, Andrew Kakabadse

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Soft-law approach is followed in the UK for improving gender diversity on boards. Regulatory authorities recommend voluntary targets and companies endeavour to achieve them. In this paper the authors present the result of a study exploring the causes and the solutions of gender homogeneity on British boards. The paper is based on thirty three interviews with board members of FTSE 350 companies. The paper posits that British boards are gender-homogeneous due to – discrimination against women, lack of confidence in women and lack of objectivity in nomination process. Thus regulatory intervention is warranted to improve gender diversity on boards and current soft-law approach is the best-suited strategy due to established institutional processes. However there is an increasing demand for more intrusive statutory action if the current approach fails to achieve the objective of gender parity on boards, soon enough. The paper contributes to Institutional theory, public policy and corporate praxis.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017
Event17th EURAM Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Jun 201724 Jun 2017


Conference17th EURAM Conference
Abbreviated titleEURAM 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Soft-law approach
  • Board DIrector's perspective
  • Opening the black box
  • Board Diversity


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