Accidental activists: Headhunters as marginal diversity actors in institutional change towards more women on boards

Doldor, E., Sealy, R. & Vinnicombe, S. (2016). Accidental activists: Headhunters as marginal diversity actors in institutional change towards more women on boards. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(3), pp. 285-303. doi: 10.1111/1748-8583.12107

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Abstract

We present a qualitative study that examines the role of headhunters as actors in a broader institutional change process aiming to increase gender diversity on corporate boards. We draw on institutional and diversity management theories to conceptualize their change agency in the broader field of women on boards. We describe their role as ‘accidental activists’ and theorize two micro-processes that define their change agency in this field: voluntaristic framing of intentionality and role redefinition by drawing on competing logics. This conceptualization does not match the heroic image of the institutional entrepreneur driving institutional change, or that of the tempered radical championing diversity, but rather casts light into a marginal and previously neglected change role. We demonstrate the opportunistic and precarious nature of this role with regards to both institutional change and diversity management, and discuss its possibilities and perils.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Doldor, E., Sealy, R. & Vinnicombe, S. Accidental activists: Headhunters as marginal diversity actors in institutional change towards more women on boards. Human Resource Management Journal, which is published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1748-8583.12107. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Institutional change, change agency, headhunters, women on boards, diversity management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/13487

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