Ethnicity, nationality, and social class on company boards

Ethnicity, nationality, and class affiliation are areas that have not been researched as regards the composition of management in new companies. Researchers at Linköping University and Kristianstad University are going to change that. They are now inaugurating a collaboration in which they will see what mechanisms affect growth and survival in company management based on ethnicity, nationality, and social class.

In contrast to large companies that are measured on their results, growth and survival are often the most important factors as regards smaller companies.

“We plan to investigate how ethnic and social diversity affect growth and survival, and what factors make it so that certain management boards have this diversity. For example, we are looking at the foundations of small businesses, their background, what networks they have, their own previous experiences and how board members are selected,” says Chanchal Balachandran, researcher at Linköping University, who will be running the project in collaboration with Karl Wennberg at Linköping University and Timurs Umans from Kristianstad University.

In the quantitative section of the study, the researchers will be given unique access via Statistics Sweden (SCB) to large amounts of data from approximately 50,000 new companies and 250,000 individuals. They will have the opportunity to see who sits on the boards, what their skills look like and what diversity they have, for example in the form of age, gender, ethnicity, and social class.

The “Upper Echelon Composition in New ventures: Determinants and Consequences” research project has been given SEK one million from the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, and the Tore Browaldh foundation. The project will start on 1 January 2017, and is estimated to be finished two years after that.

This text was written in collaboration with Kristianstad University.