Gender Diversity in Moroccan and Japanese Subsidiaries: Leo Pharma’s Female Managers in Morocco and Japan

Anna Langebæk Heisel & Frederikke Valentina Anne Sadowski

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper analyzes how LEO Pharma, without having adopted an official gender diversity policy, has achieved a high degree of gender diversity in its Moroccan and Japanese subsidiaries - two contexts in which pre-defined gender roles often seems to keep women from reaching high positions. To answer this, we have conducted a single-case study with eight qualitative interviews of female managers in the two contexts as well as two from the Danish headquarter, to get an understanding of their perceptions regarding gender diversity and the corporate culture within LEO Pharma. Although these two contexts face similar challenges regarding gender diversity, our findings show that since they have significantly different institutional setups, they need to be managed differently by LEO Pharma. This suggests how organizations need to take contextual differences of their subsidiaries into account when managing gender diversity. Furthermore, our findings show that the shared tacit knowledge, regarding gender diversity and equal opportunities for men and women, rather than explicit and institutionalized knowledge, has enabled LEO Pharma to achieve a high degree of gender diversity. Thus, gender diversity can be achieved through the ‘right’ corporate culture and not necessarily through explicit policies.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Diversity and Change Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages106
SupervisorsMichael Jakobsen