From Presence to Influence: Gender, Nationality and Network Centrality of Corporate Directors

Florence Villeséche*, Evis Sinani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The enduring lack of diversity in the corporate elite continues to attract attention from scholars and practitioners. However, the issue of representation or ‘body count’ – in particular for women – tends to dominate the discussion and overshadows social-relational dimensions. Adopting a network perspective, this article investigates how gender and nationality interact with human and social capital (i.e. director capital), explaining why particular directors hold more influential positions in the corporate elite. Findings from Swiss data show that some specific aspects of human and social capital matter more than others for being an influential director and that, ceteris paribus, Swiss citizens benefit most from both sources of capital. The discussion engages with the implications of our findings on current approaches intended to increase the numbers of appointments of ‘diverse’ directors, and how these are expected to change the corporate elite and the related job market in the longer term.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)486-504
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: June 23, 2021.


  • Corporate elite
  • Director capital
  • Foreign directors
  • Gender
  • Human capital
  • Influence
  • Nationality
  • Networks
  • Social capital
  • Women directors

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