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The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management

Author

Listed:
  • Mary E. Graham
  • Maura A. Belliveau
  • Julie L. Hotchkiss

Abstract

Women lag men in their representation in management jobs, which negatively affects women’s careers and company performance. Using data from 81 publicly traded firms with more than 2,000 establishments, the authors examine the impact of two management structures that may influence gender diversity in management positions. The authors find no association between the presence of an HR executive on the top management team—a structure envisioned in practice as enhancing diversity but which could, instead, operate merely symbolically—and the proportion of women in management. By contrast, the authors show a strong, positive association between a previously unexamined measure of commitment to diversity—the hierarchical rank of the individual certifying the company’s required, confidential federal EEO-1 report—and women’s representation in management. These findings counter the common perception that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations are too weak to affect gender diversity. The authors discuss the implications for diversity scholarship, as well as for management practice and public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary E. Graham & Maura A. Belliveau & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2017. "The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(1), pages 223-258, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:223-258
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    Cited by:

    1. Nguyen, Thi Hong Hanh & Ntim, Collins G. & Malagila, John K., 2020. "Women on corporate boards and corporate financial and non-financial performance: A systematic literature review and future research agenda," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).

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