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Professor Ruth Sealy

Professor Ruth Sealy

Associate Professor of Organisation Studies, Director of Impact

6293

+44 (0)1392 726293

1.47
Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

With global academic expertise on women on corporate boards, Ruth’s research areas include women in leadership; board composition; role models; and various aspects of corporate governance. Ruth was the lead researcher of the annual Female FTSE Report, monitoring women on listed boards and executive committees, from 2007-2016, including co-creating the “100 Women to Watch” list at Cranfield in 2009. She has co-authored similar reports in Hong Kong and India and presented report findings to academic and practitioner audiences, globally. Working closely with the Government Equalities Office and Business Innovation & Skills department, Ruth and her team provided the data for the Lord Davies Review into women on boards 2010-2015.

Ruth is currently a member of the NHS Advisory Board, which has been set an ambitious target of “50:50 by 2020” for all NHS hospital and CCG boards. She is also an invited member of the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology Board Effectiveness Group.

Prior to becoming an academic, Ruth was the Managing Director of a specialist holiday company, which she sold to a larger tour operator. She then worked for a number of years as a management psychology consultant, before starting a PhD at Cranfield School of Management in 2004, where she later became Deputy Director of the International Centre for Women Leaders. In 2013, Ruth moved City University of London to be Programme Director for MSc Organisational Psychology, and in 2016, took up an Associate Professorship at Exeter University Business School.

Nationality: British

Qualifications

BSc., MSc., PhD, MCIPD

Links

Research clusters

Research interests

  • Women in leadership
  • Board demographics, dynamics and governance
  • Role models
  • Meritocracy & legitimacy

My research spans three areas: The first stems directly from my PhD and focuses on individual level processes: work identity, role models and the impact of demography on gender, and career decisions. In addition, this includes work on intersectionality, privileged identities and identity imposition:  International Journal of Management Reviews (2010; 2017); Gender in Management (2010; 2013); Journal of Managerial Psychology (2014); Career Development International (2017); Gender Work & Organization (2016; 2020; & in preparation); plus five book chapters. 

The second area has a focus on public policy regarding women on boards and in leadership positions: governance, inclusion, regulation, leadership. This includes 25 women on boards reports (2007-2020), many of which were launched by major political figures (at No. 10 Downing Street; No. 11 Downing Street) or prominent corporate leaders (at KPMG HQ; at Barclays HQ). These reports have influenced policy of the UK government, the EU Commission, professional bodies and the NHS. In addition, this has led to white papers for International Alliance of Organizational Psychology - combined group of SIOP, EAWOP & the DOP- on women in power; and for the British Psychological Society’s Division of Organizational Psychology on board effectiveness. My papers in this area are included in journals Corporate Governance: International Review (2009 - one of highest cited articles in journal); Human Resource Management Journal (2016); Business Ethics Quarterly (2016); British Journal of Management (2017 – one of only 4 articles chosen for a Special Issue of Impactful Research); Organizational Dynamics (2018); plus six book chapters.

  The third area is less developed and includes further research into governance processes – e.g. major (250 page) literature review completed for the Financial Reporting Council 2020 underpinning their 5-year project on the Future of Corporate Reporting, including 'real effects'. A paper based on this is in a Special Issue on the Future of Corporate Reporting in Accounting in Europe (2021). The role of board evaluation and its function is very under-researched, with regulators’ and investors’ expectations at odds. There are research opportunities to consider wider stakeholders and meta-processes of change – e.g. collaborative work with QUEX colleague on the non-legislative change processes in both UK and Australia including the roles and legitimacy of various actors. Additionally, I have a behavioural governance focus on boardroom dynamics, as well as the motivations and legitimacy of CEOs’ and Chairs’ decisions and processes to become sustainable and more equitable successful organisations. 

Research projects

Current funded research projects:

  • The Future of Corporate Reporting (Financial Reporting Council) - narrative non-financial reporting and 'readl effects'
  • NHS Boardroom Diversity: information on 3,000 board directors; Qualitative data from Chairs on how and why they diversify; women's career paths to under-represented board directorships
  • Long term impacts of COVID on career progression for women and people of colour

Current Doctoral Research:

  • Boardroom dynamics and the critical mass of women (Louise Tilbury – Co-supervised with  Dr Emma Jeanes)
  • The role of gender, nationality & ethnicity for British BAME professional women (Victoria Opara – Co-supervised with Professor Michelle Ryan)
  • Women on Boards and the trickle-down effect (Aaron Page – Co-supervised with Professor Andrew Parker)

Completed Doctoral Supervisions:

  • Doyin Atewologun – PhD 2009-12: “An examination of senior Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women and men’s identity work following episodes of identity salience at work”.
  • Patricia Pryce – PhD 2009-13: “The role of social capital in men and women’s promotion to Managing Director in an investment bank”

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Sealy R, Doldor E, Vinnicommbe S, Terjesen S, Anderson D, Atewologun D (2017). Expanding the notion of dialogic reading zones for impactful research: the case of women on boards research. British Journal of Management, 28, 64-64. Full text. DOI.
Atewologun D, Kutzer R, Doldor E, Anderson D, Sealy R (2017). Individual-level Foci of Identification at Work: a Systematic Review of the Literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(3), 273-295. Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Doldor E, Sealy R, Vinnicombe S (2016). Accidental activists: headhunters as marginal diversity actors in institutional change towards more women on boards. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(3), 285-303. Full text. DOI.
Terjesen S, Sealy R (2016). Board Gender Quotas: Exploring Ethical Tensions from a Multi-Theoretical Perspective. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(1), 23-65. Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Atewologun D, Sealy R (2014). Experiencing privilege at ethnic, gender and senior intersections. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(4), 423-439. Full text. DOI.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Sealy R, Harman C (In Press). Opt-In or Opt-Out: Exploring how women construe their ambition at early career stages. Career Development International Full text. DOI.
McLaughlin H, Silvester J, Bilimoria D, Jane S, Sealy R, Peters K, Moltner H, Huse M, Goke J (In Press). Women in power: Contributing factors that impact on women in organizations and politics; psychological research and bets practice. Organizational Dynamics Full text. DOI.
Michelon G, Trojanowski G, Sealy R (2021). Narrative Reporting: State of the Art and Future Challenges. Accounting in Europe Abstract. DOI.
Opara V, Sealy R, Ryan MK (2020). The workplace experiences of BAME professional women: Understanding experiences at the intersection. Gender, Work & Organization, 27(6), 1192-1213. Full text. DOI.
Sealy R, Doldor E, Vinnicommbe S, Terjesen S, Anderson D, Atewologun D (2017). Expanding the notion of dialogic reading zones for impactful research: the case of women on boards research. British Journal of Management, 28, 64-64. Full text. DOI.
Atewologun D, Kutzer R, Doldor E, Anderson D, Sealy R (2017). Individual-level Foci of Identification at Work: a Systematic Review of the Literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(3), 273-295. Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Doldor E, Sealy R, Vinnicombe S (2016). Accidental activists: headhunters as marginal diversity actors in institutional change towards more women on boards. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(3), 285-303. Full text. DOI.
Terjesen S, Sealy R (2016). Board Gender Quotas: Exploring Ethical Tensions from a Multi-Theoretical Perspective. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(1), 23-65. Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Atewologun D, Sealy R, Vinnicombe S (2015). Revealing Intersectional Dynamics in Organizations: Introducing ‘Intersectional Identity Work’. Gender, Work & Organization, 23(3), 223-247. Full text. DOI.
Atewologun D, Sealy R (2014). Experiencing privilege at ethnic, gender and senior intersections. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(4), 423-439. Full text. DOI.
Pryce P, Sealy R (2013). Promoting women to MD in investment banking: multi-level influences. Gender in Management: an International Journal, 28(8), 448-467. DOI.
Sealy R (2010). Changing perceptions of meritocracy in senior women's careers. Gender in Management: an International Journal, 25(3), 184-197. Full text. DOI.
Sealy RHV, Singh V (2009). The importance of role models and demographic context for senior women's work identity development. International Journal of Management Reviews Full text. DOI.
Terjesen S, Sealy R, Singh V (2009). Women Directors on Corporate Boards: a Review and Research Agenda. Corporate Governance: an International Review, 17(3), 320-337. Full text. DOI.

Chapters

Searle R, Sealy R, Hawkins B (2019). 'Don't you know that it's different for girls': a dynamic exploration of trust, breach and violation for women en route to the top. In Antoniou A-S, Cooper C, Gatrell C (Eds.) Women, Business & Leadership: Gender and Organisations, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 232-246.  Full text.
Sealy R, Harman C (2017). Women's leadership ambition in early careers. In Madsen S (Ed) Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing. Full text.

Conferences

Tilbury L, Sealy R (2020). The Chair, Board Processes and Gender: a case based exploration of faultlines in the boardroom. International Corporate Governance Society. 13th - 16th Nov 2020. Abstract.
Page A, Sealy R, Parker A (2020). The Impact of Regulating Board Gender Diversity on the Trickle-Down Effect: an Attention-Based View. International Corporate Governance Society. 13th - 15th Nov 2020. Abstract.  Full text.
Sealy R (2017). Constructing Women Leaders’ Identity. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium. 3rd - 6th May 2017. Abstract.  Full text.
Sealy R, Hawkins B, Searle R (2017). Precarious Selves: Women’s leadership identity emergence. British Academy of Management. 5th - 8th Sep 2017. Abstract.  Full text.
Harvey WS, Sealy R (2016). Building HR's reputation.  Full text.

Reports

Sealy R (2020). Action for Equality: the time is now. NHS Employers,  London, NHS Confederation. Full text.
Michelon G, Trojanowski G, Sealy R (2020). Understanding research findings and evidence on corporate reporting: an independent literature review. Financial Reporting Council,  London, Financial Reporting Council. Full text.
Vinnicombe S, Sealy R, Humberd A (2017). Female FTSE Board Report 2017: Women on boards, back on track?. Cranfield UK, Cranfield University.
Vinnicombe S, Sealy R, Humbert AL (2017). Female FTSE Board Report 2017: Women on boards, back on track?. Cranfield, UK. Cranfeild University. Full text.
Sealy R, Doldor E, Vinnicombe S (2016). Female FTSE Report 2016 - Women on Boards: Taking stock of where we are. KPMG; GOvernament Equalities Office,  London, Cranfield School of Management. Full text.

Publications by year


In Press

Sealy R, Harman C (In Press). Opt-In or Opt-Out: Exploring how women construe their ambition at early career stages. Career Development International Full text. DOI.
McLaughlin H, Silvester J, Bilimoria D, Jane S, Sealy R, Peters K, Moltner H, Huse M, Goke J (In Press). Women in power: Contributing factors that impact on women in organizations and politics; psychological research and bets practice. Organizational Dynamics Full text. DOI.

2021

Michelon G, Trojanowski G, Sealy R (2021). Narrative Reporting: State of the Art and Future Challenges. Accounting in Europe Abstract. DOI.

2020

Sealy R (2020). Action for Equality: the time is now. NHS Employers,  London, NHS Confederation. Full text.
Tilbury L, Sealy R (2020). The Chair, Board Processes and Gender: a case based exploration of faultlines in the boardroom. International Corporate Governance Society. 13th - 16th Nov 2020. Abstract.
Page A, Sealy R, Parker A (2020). The Impact of Regulating Board Gender Diversity on the Trickle-Down Effect: an Attention-Based View. International Corporate Governance Society. 13th - 15th Nov 2020. Abstract.  Full text.
Opara V, Sealy R, Ryan MK (2020). The workplace experiences of BAME professional women: Understanding experiences at the intersection. Gender, Work & Organization, 27(6), 1192-1213. Full text. DOI.
Michelon G, Trojanowski G, Sealy R (2020). Understanding research findings and evidence on corporate reporting: an independent literature review. Financial Reporting Council,  London, Financial Reporting Council. Full text.

2019

Searle R, Sealy R, Hawkins B (2019). 'Don't you know that it's different for girls': a dynamic exploration of trust, breach and violation for women en route to the top. In Antoniou A-S, Cooper C, Gatrell C (Eds.) Women, Business & Leadership: Gender and Organisations, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 232-246.  Full text.

2017

Sealy R (2017). Constructing Women Leaders’ Identity. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium. 3rd - 6th May 2017. Abstract.  Full text.
Sealy R, Doldor E, Vinnicommbe S, Terjesen S, Anderson D, Atewologun D (2017). Expanding the notion of dialogic reading zones for impactful research: the case of women on boards research. British Journal of Management, 28, 64-64. Full text. DOI.
Vinnicombe S, Sealy R, Humberd A (2017). Female FTSE Board Report 2017: Women on boards, back on track?. Cranfield UK, Cranfield University.
Vinnicombe S, Sealy R, Humbert AL (2017). Female FTSE Board Report 2017: Women on boards, back on track?. Cranfield, UK. Cranfeild University. Full text.
Atewologun D, Kutzer R, Doldor E, Anderson D, Sealy R (2017). Individual-level Foci of Identification at Work: a Systematic Review of the Literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(3), 273-295. Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Sealy R, Tilbury L, Vinnicombe S (2017). Leading Diversity in the Boardroom: Board evaluation project 2017.  Abstract.  Full text.
Sealy R, Hawkins B, Searle R (2017). Precarious Selves: Women’s leadership identity emergence. British Academy of Management. 5th - 8th Sep 2017. Abstract.  Full text.
Sealy R, Harman C (2017). Women's leadership ambition in early careers. In Madsen S (Ed) Handbook of Research on Gender and Leadership, Edward Elgar Publishing. Full text.

2016

Doldor E, Sealy R, Vinnicombe S (2016). Accidental activists: headhunters as marginal diversity actors in institutional change towards more women on boards. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(3), 285-303. Full text. DOI.
Terjesen S, Sealy R (2016). Board Gender Quotas: Exploring Ethical Tensions from a Multi-Theoretical Perspective. Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(1), 23-65. Abstract.  Full text. DOI.
Harvey WS, Sealy R (2016). Building HR's reputation.  Full text.
Sealy R, Doldor E, Vinnicombe S (2016). Female FTSE Report 2016 - Women on Boards: Taking stock of where we are. KPMG; GOvernament Equalities Office,  London, Cranfield School of Management. Full text.

2015

Atewologun D, Sealy R, Vinnicombe S (2015). Revealing Intersectional Dynamics in Organizations: Introducing ‘Intersectional Identity Work’. Gender, Work & Organization, 23(3), 223-247. Full text. DOI.

2014

Atewologun D, Sealy R (2014). Experiencing privilege at ethnic, gender and senior intersections. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(4), 423-439. Full text. DOI.

2013

Pryce P, Sealy R (2013). Promoting women to MD in investment banking: multi-level influences. Gender in Management: an International Journal, 28(8), 448-467. DOI.

2010

Sealy R (2010). Changing perceptions of meritocracy in senior women's careers. Gender in Management: an International Journal, 25(3), 184-197. Full text. DOI.

2009

Sealy RHV, Singh V (2009). The importance of role models and demographic context for senior women's work identity development. International Journal of Management Reviews Full text. DOI.
Terjesen S, Sealy R, Singh V (2009). Women Directors on Corporate Boards: a Review and Research Agenda. Corporate Governance: an International Review, 17(3), 320-337. Full text. DOI.

Awards and Honours

  • Terjesen & Sealy (2015) “Questioning Quotas”, part of symposium Winner of Best International Symposium, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.
  • Atewologun, D. & Sealy, R. (2011) “Advancing racio-ethnic and diversity theorising through intersectional identity work”, Best International Paper, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, USA.
  • Sealy, R. (2009) “How senior women experience gender-imbalanced work environments”, Best Paper British Academy of Management Conference, Brighton, UK.
  • Sealy, R. & Singh, V. (2006) “Role models, work identity and senior women’s career progression: Why are role models important?”, Nominated for Best Paper Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

External positions

  • Member of NHS Advisory Board  

She was academic advisor on the following:

  • Newman, P. (2011) Releasing Potential: Women doctors and clinical leadership, Cambridge, UK: NHS Midlands & East
  • Confederation of British Industry (2010), Room at the top: Improving gender diversity on UK corporate boards, CBI, London.
  • Equality & Human Rights Commission (2009) Financial services enquiry: Sex discrimination and the gender pay gap, London UK.

Invited lectures

  • Ruth is a regular keynote and panel speaker at practitioner events.

Ruth leads the Masters module BEMM071 Leadership & Global Challenges 

She also teaches on the interdisciplinary 3rd year module LAW3169 on Equality & Diversity

Modules

2021/22