Literature Review Women on boards and in TMTS and firm performance14 Ely 1996 The economic arguments in favor of gender diversity focus on the differences between women and men and the resulting although ste reotypic advantages The access and legitimacy paradigm for instance generally accepts and emphasizes differences Its line of reasoning sug gests that an organization s workforce should re flect the diversity of its customers in order to gain access to all segments and to gain legitimacy with them Thomas Ely 1996 Female representa tion on boards can indeed be associated with a reputational effect which is most pronounced for firms operating in sectors with close proximity to final customers Brammer Millington Pavelin 2009 In line with this result the highest pro portion of women on boards is found in sectors such as consumer services health financial ser vices or retailing Brammer Millington Pavelin 2007 Brammer et al 2009 Hillman Shropshire Cannella 2007 The Learning and effectiveness paradigm as a way of understanding diversity uni tes the two earlier approaches by promoting equal opportunities and recognizing values in cultural dif ferences at the same time It emphasizes the ad vantages of incorporating the diverse employees perspectives to enhance processes strategies and business practices thereby tapping diversity s true benefits Thomas Ely 1996 p 85 Although the enhancement of internal strategies and processes may indirectly impact firm perfor mance the true benefits of diversity must be measurable to achieve leadership commitment The business case for diversity should be clear and convincing and naturally linked to the company s specific business objectives Robinson Dechant 1997 This business case is particularly relevant when it comes to the call for increased female re presentation in top management and on corporate boards Economic arguments hence substantiated 2 Women on corporate boards and in top management and firm performance A literature review 2 1 Introduction While organizational diversity and successful di versity management has been a prominent is sue in the United States since the 1990s it has gained increasing importance also in Europe during recent years Gender diversity in top management positions is of particular interest in this context Although the share of qualified female graduates as well as the number of working women in Euro pe has steadily increased during the past decades female representation at top managerial levels remains very low Several European governments decided that political intervention was necessary in order to trigger change Statutory gender quotas for supervisory boards were introduced for instance in Norway 2003 40 percent in Spain 2007 30 percent in Italy 2012 30 percent and also in Germany 2015 30 percent Two main lines of argument are central to the de bate the moral case for gender diversity and the business case for gender diversity The moral arguments in favor of diversity focus on fairness equal opportunities and compliance with regula tory requirements This understanding of diversity is known as the discrimination and fairness pa radigm Thomas Ely 1996 Core elements of the paradigm are equality conformism and gen der blindness Proponents of equality put forward that women represent half of mankind and thus half of its intelligence and capabilities Thus wo men should be equally represented in manage ment positions Proponents of conformism deny gender specific differences and promote equivalen ce of both sexes Proponents of a business case for gender diversity argue that diversity was not an issue of fairness only but would make business sense Thomas Women on boards and in TMTs and firm performance

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