Analyzing the role of female directors for strengthening social and environmental practices of companies
: what influence do female directors on corporate boards have on decision-making concerning social and environmental issues?

  • Sanja-Marie Sijakov (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


As awareness for sustainable business making increases, companies are expanding their efforts to become responsible actors. To reach this goal, corporate boards are the main internal government mechanism as they fulfill the responsibility to develop corporate strategies. Even though research declared gender-diverse boards as more sustainable, there is a lack of research addressing the specific role of female board members in this phenomenon. To investigate the impact that female board members have on CSR decision-making, it is crucial to analyzespecific attitudes and behaviors of female board members. This has been investigated in this thesis based on fifteen qualitative expert interviews. The findings of this study indicate that female board members influence both the decision-making process as well as the decisions taken by boards through underlying attitudes and schemas. This influence can be characterized by three core findings: first, females demonstrate long-term thinking which indicates the absence of a trade-off between making business and being sustainable even though short-term investments may exceed short-term benefits. Secondly, they display mindsets which value a broad range of actors affected by decisions and the importance of environmental and social responsibility. Lastly, females embrace board discussions by challenging internal routines in such a way that more sustainable decisions are made and hence the entire sustainability orientation of a company changes. As sustainable business making may increase with more female board members, understanding the influence of them on decision-making processes is relevant. Companies tackle global economic challenges such as climate change by contributing to increased sustainability in their decisions.
Date of Award19 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorLars Huemer (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

Cite this