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

Author

Listed:
  • Macchiavello, Rocco

    (University of Warwick)

  • Menzel, Andreas

    (University of Warwick)

  • Rabbani, Atonu

    (University of Dhaka)

  • Woodruff, Christopher

    (University of Warwick)

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," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 256, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:256
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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/256-2015_woodruff.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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).
    4. repec:iza:izawol:journl:y:2018:n:429 is not listed on IDEAS

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