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Challenges of Change: An Experiment Training Women to Manage in the Bangladeshi Garment Sector

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  • Macchiavello, Rocco
  • Menzel, Andreas
  • Rabbani, Atonu
  • Woodruff, Christopher

Abstract

Large private firms are still relatively rare in low-income countries, and we know little about how entry-level managers in these firms are selected. We examine a context in which nearly 80 percent of production line workers are female, but 95 percent of supervisors are male. We evaluate the effectiveness of female supervisors by implementing a training program for selected production line workers. Prior to the training, we find that workers at all level of the factory believe males are more effective supervisors than females. Careful skills diagnostics indicate that those perceptions do not always match reality. When the trainees are deployed in supervisory roles, production line workers initially judge females to be significantly less effective, and there is some evidence that the lines on which they work underperform. But after around four months of exposure, both perceptions and performance of female supervisors catch up to those of males. We document evidence that the exposure to female supervisors changes the expectations of male production workers with regard to promotion and expected tenure in the factory.

Suggested Citation

  • Macchiavello, Rocco & Menzel, Andreas & Rabbani, Atonu & Woodruff, Christopher, 2015. "Challenges of Change: An Experiment Training Women to Manage in the Bangladeshi Garment Sector," Economic Research Papers 269725, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwarer:269725
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.269725
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    Cited by:

    1. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Namrata Kala & Anant Nyshadham, 2018. "The Skills to Pay the Bills: Returns to On-the-job Soft Skills Training," NBER Working Papers 24313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andreas Menzel, 2017. "Knowledge Exchange and Productivity Spill-overs in Bangladeshi Garment Factories," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp607, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    3. Cajal-Grossi, Julia & Macchiavello, Rocco & Noguera, Guillermo, 2019. "International buyers' sourcing and suppliers markups in Bangladeshi garments," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102612, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Kristina Czura & Andreas Menzel & Martina Miotto, 2019. "Menstrual Health, Worker Productivity and Well-being among Female Bangladeshi Garment Workers," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp649, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    5. Achyuta Adhvaryu, 2018. "Managerial quality and worker productivity in developing countries," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 429-429, February.
    6. Giulia La Mattina & Gabriel Picone & Alban Ahoure & Jose Carlos Kimou, 2017. "Female leaders and gender gaps within the firm: Evidence from three sub-Saharan African countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 063, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Achyuta Adhvaryu & Anant Nyshadham & Jorge A. Tamayo, 2019. "Managerial Quality and Productivity Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 25852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Giulia La Mattina & Gabriel Picone & Alban Ahoure & Jose Carlos Kimou, 2017. "Female leaders and gender gaps within the firm: Evidence from three sub-Saharan African countries," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-63, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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