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Gender Diversity Issues Within the Company and Beyond: Perceptions of Investor Relations Professionals in German-Speaking Europe

Anna Hinrichsen, Dirk Schiereck and Anette von Ahsen

Die Unternehmung - Swiss Journal of Business Research and Practice, 2018, vol. 72, issue 2, 109-125

Abstract: Against the background of the statutory gender quotas for supervisory boards that were recently introduced in several European countries including Germany, we examine how investors and capital market participants perceive the relevance of gender diversity for corporate valuation in stock markets. To address these perceptions, we conduct an anonymous survey of investor relations managers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland who are the natural contact persons for investors and act as the predominant information source in each valuation-relevant topic for capital market participants. Our findings suggest that staff diversity remains a niche topic for capital markets. Accordingly, corporate initiatives for increased gender diversity in executive positions are believed by capital market participants to have no impact on external company valuation. The vast majority of companies considers diversity issues predominantly in the context of fairness and equality. The most influential external stakeholders driving diversity initiatives are government authorities and regulators, women’s and interest associations and the media. Half of the companies surveyed have not implemented specific promotion programs for women in leadership, and almost two thirds of all surveyed companies have not set any planning targets in this context.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.5771/0042-059X-2018-2-109

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Die Unternehmung - Swiss Journal of Business Research and Practice is currently edited by Prof. Dr. Artur Baldauf, Universität Bern, Prof. Dr. Manfred Bruhn, Universität Basel, Prof. Dr. Pascal Gantenbein, Universität Basel (geschäftsführend), Prof. Dr. Markus Gmür, Universität Fribourg, Prof. Dr. Klaus Möller, Universität St. Gallen, Prof. Dr. Günter Müller-Stewens, Universität St. Gallen, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Margit Osterloh, Universität Zürich, Prof. Dr. Dieter Pfaff, Universität Zürich and Prof. Dr. Martin Wallmeier, Universität Fribourg

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