Mitchell Centre Seminar series
|Starts:||16:00 13 Mar 2019|
|Ends:||17:30 13 Mar 2019|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
Heather McGregor, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Yasaman Sarabi, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Dimitris Christopoulos, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Matthew Smith, University of Greenwich
Busy Directors: Are Female Directors Overboarded in the UK?
The subject of busy or overboarded directors has become a widely debated issue in recent years, receiving scholarly interest. The subject of this debate is whether directors with multiple appointments are able to commit sufficiently to each appointment and be an effective director. Whether busy directors are a valuable resource or burden on the company is a matter of debate. Some argue that a director with multiple appointments is a certification of their abilities, and busy directors through their extensive contacts make excellent advisors on the board; this results in a positive effect on firm performance (Field, Lowry, & Mkrtchyan, 2013; Harris & Shimizu , 2004). But others argue that directors with several appointments are ineffective with too many commitments (Fernández Méndez, Pathan, & Arrondo García, 2015; Uzun & Cooper, 2012). However, the interplay of director’s gender and busyness is often neglected, where directors are often treated equally in the analysis.
We provide an exploratory analysis of the male and female directors serving on UK FTSE 350 boards of directors for 2010 to 2018. The purpose is to identify whether the number of female busy directors has increased since 2010. We also consider some characteristics of the busy directors, such as their age, and sectoral composition of boards they sit on. We do include male directors in our analysis, in order to make comparisons. We have selected 2010 as the initial point for our data, as it represents an important milestone for gender diversity on UK boards of directors, following the establishment of the 30% Club. We construct two-mode networks based on directors sitting on the boards of UK FTSE 350 companies, and we utilise centrality measures for these interlocking directorate networks, combined with attributes of directors and companies, to identify and discuss female busy directors.
We find that there has been a slight increase in the proportion of busy female directors, whilst the level of busy male directors is slowly decreasing. The sectors where busy female directors are most prevalent include the financial sectors and service sectors.
This work is part of our ongoing research on female directors on UK boards, for which we explore different themes implementing various network analysis tools and techniques.
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