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Gender quotas work in 'tight' cultures

Tight cultures such as those in China, Germany and Pakistan have a lower tolerance for deviation from cultural norms

STR Team 

Quotas probably won't get more women into the boardroom in places like the US and Canada. They have a better chance, however, in countries such as China or Germany where people place a higher value on obeying authority and conforming to cultural norms, say a new research by University of Toronto's Rotman School of .

The research says it all comes down to a culture's 'tightness' or 'looseness' - the degree to which a culture maintains social norms, adheres to authority structures and tolerates deviations from them. Global organisations seeking to expand their female leadership ranks need to understand which kind of culture they're operating in to take the right approach.

Tight cultures such as those in China, Germany and Pakistan have a lower tolerance for deviation from cultural norms. They also tend to have the worst rates of female leadership, but the compliance they command can be used to advantage. For example, Norway, considered a tight culture, achieved a target of 40 per cent of women in director positions at public companies by 2007 through a quota that included dissolution of those firms that failed to meet the threshold.


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First Published: Mon, August 04 2014. 00:07 IST
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