Karl Wennberg

Demographic and organizational diversity

The project builds on a long-term research program on demographic diversity in organizations which has attracted international attention. The project aims to identify 'social mechanisms' that facilitate breaking the homophilous recruitment into company boards of directors and top management teams that still characterize Swedish firms. The methodology is based on detailed statistical analysis of Swedish matched employee-employer data that exploits exogenous variation to identify causal relationships, in combination with illustrative case studies. Tentative results show that demographic diversity in organizations can be enabled by leadership, but is primarily conditioned by the local labor and housing market. Large organizations change slowly and most of the variability in firms’ demographic diversity is due to the origins of the organizations, i.e. their founders and the environment in which firms are founded. Founders with broad social networks from previous workplaces and/or with access to personal role models in their vicinity tend to recruit more ethnically and gender-diverse company boards, and make more gender-equal hires in general staffing. Even in larger companies, role model effects can be identified in that companies with more equal management teams tend to attract a more equal set of middle managers. By seeking to identify social mechanisms that can improve equality and gender equality in organizations, the research contributes to important societal goals.
Grant administrator
Stockholm School of Economics
Reference number
SEK 568,516.00
RJ Sabbatical
Business Administration