This week’s articles look at gender differences on firm performance and consumer attitudes.

Women CEOs attract lower bank loan costs in China 
Given that women CEOs are usually more risk averse, engage less in opportunistic behavior, and provide higher quality earnings than men CEOs, we argue that firms with women CEOs are likely to face lower operational and information risk and thus enjoy cheaper external funds.

Using a large sample of Chinese A-share listed firms operating from 2006 to 2012, we find consistent evidence that Chinese banks tend to impose lower loan costs on firms with women CEOs compared to firms with men CEOs. This effect is more pronounced
(1) for non-state-owned enterprises than for state-owned enterprises,
(2) for firms without political connections than for firms with political connections, and
(3) during non-crisis periods.

We do not find any significant effects for firms with women chairpersons, CFOs, or directors.

Jin-hui Luo, Zeyue Huang, Xue Li and Xiaojing Lin. 2018. Are Women CEOs Valuable in Terms of Bank Loan Costs? Evidence from China. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 153(2), 337–355.


Gender, management styles, and forms of capital 
Extant research notes a tendency to propound the idea that female managers are secondary to men. Gender differences constitute an ethical issue and the discursive constructions of gender management are central to research in business ethics.

Drawing on evidence gathered from a time–space intersection that has been widely neglected by research in this area, we address whether female business leaders develop gender-stereotypic management styles as well as their propensity to adopt masculine management patterns such as making risky decisions and implementing formal management systems (e.g. accounting reports).

Our findings suggest that gender-stereotypic management styles are chosen strategically and target-driven, which implies a selective use of masculine and feminine management styles. Furthermore, as part of the masculine approach, female business owners adopt risk-taking decisions and implement formal management systems.

Our results provide support for the argument that gender is context dependent and, hence, the findings of this study may be useful for contemporary jurisdictions featuring male-dominated societies and a strong intervention by the State in the economy.

Salvador Carmona, Mahmoud Ezzamel and Claudia Mogotocoro. 2018. Gender, Management Styles, and Forms of Capital. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 153(2), 357–373.


Women’s leadership and firm performance: Family versus nonfamily firms 
We evaluate the relationship between the appointment of women to CEO or Chair positions and firm performance, and shed light on the differences between family and nonfamily firms.

By using a propensity score matching approach on a sample of 394 French firms over the period 2001–2010, we find major discordances between women’s leadership style and family business expectations relative to firm performance, as measured by return on assets and Tobin’s q. Notably, our results support the conjecture that family firms, which are more conducive to transformational leadership, offer women a more appropriate climate for exercising the function of Chair than that of CEO.

In contrast, women CEOs perform better in nonfamily firms. Our findings move away from the predominant focus on barriers and stereotypes images about the female leadership and support the contingency theory of leadership, which states that the effectiveness of a leadership style depends on the organization and culture in which leaders operate, and on task-related positions.

Mehdi Nekhili, Héla Chakroun and Tawhid Chtioui. 2018. Women’s Leadership and Firm Performance: Family Versus Nonfamily Firms. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 153(2), 291–316.


How the gender of apologizers influences consumer forgiveness 
In a corporate apology, the apologizer can be either a male or a female. How does the gender of the apologizer influence consumer forgiveness? We suggest that the relative effectiveness of corporate apologies made by males versus females depends on the nature of the corporate wrongdoing, namely whether the wrongdoing is related to performance or to value.

Three experiments demonstrate that a male apologizer elicits more consumer forgiveness than a female apologizer for performance-related wrongdoings, while a female apologizer garners more forgiveness than a male apologizer for values-related wrongdoings. These effects are driven by consumers’ social perceptions of the different genders.

Specifically, a female apologizer is perceived as warmer which offsets the perceived lack of warmth resulting from values-related corporate transgressions, while a male apologizer is perceived as more competent which compensates for the perceived lack of competence resulting from performance-related corporate transgressions. However, this effect is attenuated when consumers are the same gender (vs. the opposite gender) as the apologizer, and can be reversed when the apologizer is personally responsible for the wrongdoing.

These findings offer novel insights on corporate apologies, gender-trait associations, and gender and forgiveness, while suggesting that companies must carefully consider the gender of the spokesperson in the wake of transgressions.

Haiying Wei and Yaxuan Ran. 2019. Male Versus Female: How the Gender of Apologizers Influences Consumer Forgiveness. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 154(2), 371–387.


To what extent do gender diverse boards enhance CS performance? 
The inconclusiveness of previous research on the association between gender diverse boards (GDB) and corporate social performance (CSP) has led us to revisit the question in light of stakeholder management and institutional theories.

Given that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a multidimensional concept, we test the influence of GDB on various groups of stakeholders. By considering the interaction between stakeholders’ power and directors’ personal motivations toward the prioritization of stakeholders’ claims, we find that GDB are positively related to CSR dimensions that are related to less powerful stakeholders such as the environment, contractors, and the community.

However, GDB do not appear to have a significant impact on CSR dimensions that are associated with stakeholders who benefit from more institutionalized power, such as employees and customers.

Claude Francoeur, Réal Labelle, Souha Balti and Saloua EL Bouzaidi. 2019. To What Extent Do Gender Diverse Boards Enhance Corporate Social Performance? 
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(2), 343–357.


Empowering women on boards
This study investigates the effect of country-level emancipative forces on corporate gender diversity around the world. Based on Welzel’s (Freedom rising: human empowerment and the quest for emancipation. Cambridge University Press, New York, 2013) theory of emancipation, we develop an emancipatory framework of board gender diversity that explains how action resources, emancipative values and civic entitlements enable, motivate and encourage women to take leadership roles on corporate boards.

Using a sample of 6390 firms operating in 30 countries around the world, our results show positive single and combined effects of the framework components on board gender diversity. Our research adds to the existing literature in a twofold manner.

First, our integrated framework offers a more encompassing, complete and theoretically richer picture of the key drivers of board gender diversity. Second, by testing the framework empirically, we extend the evidence on national drivers of board gender diversity.

Steven A. Brieger, Claude Francoeur, Christian Welzel and Walid Ben-Amar. 2019. Empowering Women: The Role of Emancipative Forces in Board Gender Diversity. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 155(2), 495–511.