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Call for Papers for the RC02 (Economy and Society)




Session at the 2nd ISA Forum of Sociology Conference

Buenos Aires, Argentina

August, 1 – 4, 2012



Panel Abstract:


Elite ‘old boys’ networks of corporate directors are, in general, not well regarded. The closed network restricts the pool of talent from which new directors can be recruited and reinforces established social cleavages in our societies. Both in public discussion as in academic debates there have been many calls for a more diverse board composition.

The (dis)advantages of less homogeneous boards have predominantly been studied from an individual firm perspective. In this perspective diversity is related to board efficacy. This research however suffers from the problem of causality: are successful firms recruiting minorities or is it in fact the other way around. Nevertheless, a wide consensus remains in place concerning the need for more homines novi to be recruited on corporate board, especially women and ethnic minorities. If not for the positive effect on board performance, diversity enhances representation. In that sense diversity is an inherent good and part and parcel of the democratization of society.

This suggests that one can also approach the issue of diversity from a business community perspective. Corporate elite networks express demographic and political changes in society, but they have hardly been studied as such. Taking this new perspective opens up a wide variety of new and exciting questions this panel invites to ask, such as: how large has the inflow of homines novi actually been and what has been the effect on the corporate elite networks, both in its structure as in its content. Do the norms and values that govern the business community change when de composition of the business elite changes? Do the new directors also bring more trust and better reputation? Does diversity have an impact on the structure of the corporate networks? Does diversity indeed improve the efficacy of the corporate networks? And how did the call for governmental or quasi-governmental control following the financial crisis caused new recruitment patterns?

The aim of this session is to ask these and related questions and build an answer from a business community perspective.


Abstracts should be submitted to organizing chairs by 15th December 2011 through the conference website




For further information please contact organizing chairs:


Meindert Fennema        mailto:[log in to unmask]

Eelke Heemskerk          [log in to unmask]


Department of Politics, University of Amsterdam 



Abstracts submission: 15th December 2011

Registration for the conference: 10th April 2012


For further details about Conference please visit:


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