The Impact of an Organizational Crisis on the Relationship between Board Members’ Gender and Stakeholder Orientation An experimental study about the stakeholder orientation of board members in healthy organizations compared to an organization in crisis

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
There are different studies about the impact of women in the board which state that they provide better financial performances or less fraud, for instance. However, board members’ gender and stakeholder orientation are never linked to each other, while these are important subjects in the literature. This research will make that link and thereby, focuses on the moderating impact of an organizational crisis on this possible relationship between board member’s gender and stakeholder orientation. Consistent with the theory about gender roles and characteristics, it is expected that female board members will have a higher stakeholder orientation than male in a healthy organization, but that it decreases during an organizational crisis. These hypotheses are tested on board members in the region of Nijmegen and Arnhem. An experiment is conducted with the use of vignettes to manipulate an organizational crisis. These are partly conducted online and partly through interviews. The results don’t find support for the hypotheses, so there is no link between board member’s gender and stakeholder orientation, and an organizational crisis has no moderation effect neither. However, the study finds that an organizational crisis does have a significant effect on stakeholder orientation. Furthermore, male board members have higher stakeholder orientation during an organizational crisis than in a healthy organization. And, when board members have to choose one stakeholder to focus on in both situations, women are more likely to switch, during a crisis, in that choice than men. Women often make the switch focus from community to employees, while men keep customer as most important stakeholder. These findings contribute to the literature because it contradicts the existing studies about gender differences and shows the impact of an organizational crisis. Practically, organizations require a diverse board to have a proper stakeholder orientation in healthy and crisis situations.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen