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Getting to the Helm: Women in Leadership in Federal Regulation


  • Amy Smith


Why is it important for women to hold leadership positions in organizations? If it is important for women to hold leadership positions in organizations, how do women get into such positions? Both public administration research and organizational research provide answers to these questions. However, the integration of these two bodies of literature remains limited. This study joins public administration scholarship on representative bureaucracy and management scholarship on women in leadership to hypothesize and test institutional, organizational, and political explanations for women’s attainment of leadership positions together in one model. This study examines how women get into upper-level leadership positions in 12 federal regulatory organizations over more than 20 years of time. Findings suggests that women are more likely to gain access to leadership positions when the dominant political ideology is democratic and in agencies that work in feminine policy contexts, are younger, and where the risk of failure is higher. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Amy Smith, 2014. "Getting to the Helm: Women in Leadership in Federal Regulation," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 477-496, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:porgrv:v:14:y:2014:i:4:p:477-496
    DOI: 10.1007/s11115-013-0240-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin Campbell & Antonio Mínguez-Vera, 2008. "Gender Diversity in the Boardroom and Firm Financial Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(3), pages 435-451, December.
    2. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    3. Morgen Johansen, 2007. "The Effect of Female Strategic Managers on Organizational Performance," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 269-279, September.
    4. Ali Farazmand, 2010. "Bureaucracy and Democracy: A Theoretical Analysis," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 245-258, September.
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