Women at top level management at Contractors in Denmark and Norway
Paper in proceeding, 2012

Strategic management and leadership in the building sector will gain increasing importance as globalization and shorter product lifecycles will put pressure on company competences in moving fast and agile. A broader mobilisation of human resources at the top level could be a central avenue to improve strategic management. Through new recruiting the composition of the top level management could be strengthened. Today the building industry encompasses relatively few managers with strategic management competences and women at this level are very few. The paper uses institutionalist theory to explain the dynamics in changing and developing top level management. The theoretical framework argues for five interlinked domains of the individual, the enterprise, the strategic management, the board and the environment. Institutions in all areas contribute to the experienced constraints. Based on an exploratory study of Danish and Norwegian female representation as CEOs, member of boards of directors and member of boards shows very low representation of women. Four competing institutions regarding female representation are identified the male dominant, the hostage, the voluntarist and the politically correct. The present status for the Danish contractors can be characterized as the hostage, as one woman in the board seems to be the present pattern. And Norway is less different than one should think. In Denmark as a newly launched reform encompass a strong voluntary element. An EU reform is therefore a more likely driver for politically correct institutional reform.

Institutional theory

Equal opportunities

Top level management



Martine Buser

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Management

Christian Koch

Chalmers, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Management

Smith S. (2012): Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference. Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM).

Vol. 1 262-272

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Other Civil Engineering

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