What are the differences when women hold leadership roles? See this week’s research tidbits to find out more.

Gender’s role in the effect of top management trustworthiness on turnover intentions 
Based on a field study (N = 303), this paper explores the differential role that perceived top management trustworthiness has on female and male employees’ negative emotions and turnover intentions in organisations.

A theoretical model is established that explicates a negative indirect effect of perceived top management trustworthiness on employee turnover intentions through employee negative emotions. The results reveal that there is a negative relationship between perceived top management trustworthiness and employee negative emotions and resulting turnover intentions and that this effect is stronger for female employees than for male employees.

These results demonstrate the pivotal role played by top management trustworthiness, provide an explanation for the turnover gender gap, and highlight the subjectivity in reactions to trustworthiness perceptions. The implications for organisations are discussed in line with the need for top management to positively influence employees and particularly women, to retain them in their workforce.

Sophie Mölders, Prisca Brosi, Matthias Spörrle & Isabell M. Welpe. 2019. The Effect of Top Management Trustworthiness on Turnover Intentions via Negative Emotions: The Moderating Role of Gender.
Journal of Business Ethics, 156(4), 957–969.

 

Female executives and perceived employer attractiveness 
We investigate whether female executives influence perceived employer attractiveness for female job seekers. Drawing on signalling theory, the authors argue that female members in top management may signal organisational justice and organisational support and may therefore enhance perceived employer attractiveness.

Findings from a scenario experiment with 357 participants indicate that female job seekers are more attracted to an organisation with a female executive holding a non-stereotypical office [such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO)] as compared to an organisation with an all-male top management.

Results of a structural equation model show that perceived organisational justice mediates the positive effect of a female holding a non-stereotypical office (CFO) on perceived employer attractiveness, but perceived organisational support does not. The results challenge the widely held view that women in top management will generally help attract female job seekers; rather, they suggest that a single female executive holding a stereotypical female office (such as Chief Human Resources Officer) even reduces perceived employer attractiveness.

Anja Iseke & Kerstin Pull. 2019.  Female Executives and Perceived Employer Attractiveness: On the Potentially Adverse Signal of Having a Female CHRO Rather Than a Female CFO.
Journal of Business Ethics, 156(4), 1113–1133.

 

How narcissism manifests among women CEOs 
Firms face mounting pressure to appoint ethical leaders who will avoid unnecessary risk, scandal and crisis. Alongside mounting evidence that narcissistic leaders place organisations at risk, there is a growing consensus that women are more ethical, transparent and risk-averse than men.

The authors seek to interrogate these claims by analysing whether narcissism is as prevalent among women CEOs as it is among men CEOs. The authors further analyse whether narcissistic women CEOs take the same types of risk as narcissistic men CEOs. Drawing on social role and token theories, the authors test hypotheses related to gender differences in the prevalence and impact of CEO narcissism on firm-level practices.

Using a unique dataset that includes a large sample of CEOs of S&P 1500 companies from 1992 through 2014, the authors create a narcissism composite score for each CEO based on their photograph size in the annual report, and their cash earnings and non-cash earnings relative to the next highest paid executive. The authors find that women CEOs are less likely to exhibit narcissistic personality traits compared to men CEOs. Furthermore, the authors find that gender moderates the relationship between narcissistic CEOs and the outcome variables of risk-taking and questionable behaviours.

Alicia R. Ingersoll, Christy Glass, Alison Cook and Kari Joseph Olsen. 2019. Power, Status and Expectations: How Narcissism Manifests Among Women CEOs. 
Journal of Business Ethics, 158(4), 893–907.

 

Mechanisms of board gender diversity: Evidence from financial manipulation
This study examines the impact of board gender diversity on financial misconduct. The findings suggest firms with gender-diverse boards commit fewer financial reporting mistakes and engage in less fraud. The findings hold after accounting for the potentially endogenous nature of board demographic characteristics via instrumental variable approach.

Furthermore, the findings are consistent in pre- and post-regulation (Sarbanes–Oxley) periods and hold for firms with good and bad governance. The findings do not seem driven by differences in effort or quality, in terms of independence and expertise, of female and male directors.

The benefit derived from increasing the number of female directors on corporate boards seems to diminish at higher levels of gender diversity, indicating that impact of gender diversity on decreasing the likelihood of financial misconduct may be a result of a change to board group dynamics.

Aida Sijamic Wahid. 2019. The Effects and the Mechanisms of Board Gender Diversity: Evidence from Financial Manipulation.
Journal of Business Ethics, 159(3), 705–725.

 

She’-E-O compensation gap 
Is there a compensation gap between female CEOs (She’-E-Os) and male CEOs? If so, are there mechanisms to mitigate the compensation gap? Extending role congruity theory, the authors argue that the perception mismatch between the female gender role (that assumes communal traits) and the leadership role (that assumes agentic traits) may lead to lower compensation to female CEOs, resulting in a gender compensation gap.

Nevertheless, the compensation gap may be narrowed if female CEOs display agentic traits through risk-taking, or alternatively, work in female-dominated industries where communal traits are valued. Additionally, the authors expect that female CEOs’ risk-taking is less effective in reducing the gender compensation gap in female-dominated industries due to the conflicting emphases on agentic and communal traits.

Leveraging a sample of Chinese publicly listed firms, the authors find support for the hypotheses. Overall, this study contributes to the ethics literature on income inequality issues, by highlighting the effectiveness of potential mechanisms to close the gender compensation gap between female and male CEOs.

Joyce C. Wang, Lívia Markóczy, Sunny Li Sun & Mike W. Peng. 2019. She’-E-O Compensation Gap: A Role Congruity View.
Journal of Business Ethics, 159(3), 745–760.

 

Gender and leadership emergence: A meta‐analysis and explanatory model 
Research has shown that men tend to emerge as leaders more frequently than women. However, societal role expectations for both women and leaders have changed in the decades since the last empirical review of the gender gap in leader emergence (Eagly & Karau, 1991). The authors leverage meta‐analytic evidence to demonstrate that the gender gap has decreased over time, but a contemporary gap remains.

To understand why this gap in leader emergence occurs, the authors draw on social role theory to develop a Gender‐Agency/Communion‐Participation (GAP) Model—an integrative theoretical model that includes both trait and behavioural mechanisms. Specifically, the authors examine a sequence of effects: from gender to agentic and communal personality traits, from these traits to behavioural participation in group activities, and ultimately from participation to leader emergence.

The model is tested using original meta‐analyses of the personality and behavioural mechanisms (coding 1,632 effect sizes total). Gender differences in leadership emergence are predominately explained by agentic traits (positive) and communal traits (negative), both directly and through the mechanism of participation in group discussions. In addition, several paths in the theoretical model are moderated by situational contingencies.

The study enhances knowledge of the mechanisms and boundary conditions underlying the gender gap in leader emergence.

Badura, Katie L., Grijalva, Emily, Newman, Daniel A., Yan, Thomas Taiyi and Jeon, Gahyun. 2018. Gender and leadership emergence: A meta‐analysis and explanatory model. 
Personnel Psychology, 71(3), 335-367.