Does Female Representation in Top Management Improve Firm Performance? A Panel Data Investigation

46 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2008 Last revised: 24 Aug 2011

Cristian L. Dezso

University of Maryland - R.H. Smith School of Business

David Gaddis Ross

University of Florida

Date Written: March 9, 2011

Abstract

We argue that female representation in top management brings informational and social diversity benefits to the top management team, enriches the behaviors exhibited by managers throughout the firm, and motivates women in middle management. The result should be improved managerial task performance and thus better firm performance. We test our theory using 15 years of panel data on the top management teams of the S&P 1,500 firms. We find that female representation in top management improves firm performance but only to the extent that a firm’s strategy is focused on innovation, in which context the informational and social benefits of gender diversity and the behaviors associated with women in management are likely to be especially important for managerial task performance.

Keywords: gender, top management teams, firm performance, innovation

Suggested Citation

Dezso, Cristian L. and Ross, David Gaddis, Does Female Representation in Top Management Improve Firm Performance? A Panel Data Investigation (March 9, 2011). Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS 06-104. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1088182

Cristian L. Dezso

University of Maryland - R.H. Smith School of Business ( email )

Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-7832 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/lbpp/faculty/deszo.html

David Gaddis Ross (Contact Author)

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

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