The (Homo)Social Criteria- A qualitative study of homosocialty in the recruitment process to top management teams in Swedish tech-influenced start-ups

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för företagande och ledning

Abstract: Purpose - There are several benefits originating from gender diversity, such as improved decision-making and innovation, arguably important for a start-up. Contrastingly, the context of tech-influenced Swedish startups' TMTs are rather male dominated. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to create a better understanding of the current state of gender diversity in start-ups' TMTs by turning to the recruitment process. This understanding will be sought through the lens of Homosociality. Design/methodology/approach - In this cross-sectional, interpretative and qualitative study, nine interviews with male CEOs of tech-influenced start-ups were conducted and used as a foundation for this paper. Findings - The authors of this study have found that informal social criteria tend to permeate the recruitment processes for roles included in the TMT. The high use of informal procedures in this male-dominated context tends to cause homogeneity in top positions. These procedures are perceived as risk-reducing and low cost mechanisms, both considered important in this context. Homosocial reproduction in the recruitment process to TMTs in this context is largely understood through; 1) The choice of recruitment methods 2) The weight put into social characteristics aligning with those of the male CEO 3) A distinction between the pro-gender equality discourse and actual practice Practical implications - The results of this study have laid the foundation for an awareness regarding start-ups' male CEOs' factors affecting their choices in the recruitment process to their TMTs. This awareness allows them to make more informed decisions regarding recruitment of roles included in their TMTs in the future. Originality/value - As previous studies on homosociality mainly have been conducted on more traditional and larger organizations, this study has turned to organizations with context specific characteristics distinguishing them from these. This has widened the understanding of variables contributing to homosocial activities. This study's value lies in its high relevance due to today's increasing popularity of start-ups. As many start-ups are arguably to become the "new" traditional firms in the future, this study has implications ahead.

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