Women on Corporate Boards of Directors pp 97-109

Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 14)

Women on Canadian Corporate Boards of Directors: Still a Long Way to go

  • Ronald J. Burke


Increasing research attention has been devoted to understanding the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors of North American corporations (Gillies, 1992; Lorsch & MacIver, 1989; Fleischer, Hazard & Klipper, 1988). Initially, boards had honorary or at best advisory roles to CEOs appearing as “ornaments on a corporate Christmas tree” (Mace, 1971). They also have functioned as “old boy’s clubs” (Leighton & Thain, 1993). Board Members were appointed exclusively at the request of the CEO. But events of the 1970s and 1980s have brought about changes in both the composition and functioning of boards. A majority of board members now come from outside the corporation (outside directors), board membership has grown, corporate boards have created more committees, corporate directors take their jobs more seriously, and directors bring a greater variety of abilities and skills to the boards on which they serve. Despite these changes, corporate boards of directors continue to be criticized.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald J. Burke
    • 1
  1. 1.York UniversityNorth YorkCanada

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