Torchia, M., Calabró, A. & Huse, M.
Journal of Business Ethics (102)
Area of focus: 

An academic research paper examining the impact of differing levels of female membership on corporate boards, to determine whether a "critical mass" is required for positive impacts on innovation. The study surveyed CEOs of Norwegian companies and found no correlation with perceived innovation in companies with two, one, or no female board directors; however a significant positive relationship exists in boards with three or more female directors, suggesting that this represents critical mass.

Certain strategic tasks are shown to function as a mediating factor on innovation, with a positive relationship existing between three or more women and increased uptake of these tasks. In cases where boards have fewer women, the authors believe women form a "token minority" suffering from performance pressure, exclusion and assimilation into stereotyped categories. The gender of the CEO also seems to correlate with levels of innovation, with male CEOs associated with lower results.