Gender Discrimination in Management: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives
Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, No. 35E, pp. 153-172, 2012
20 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012 Last revised: 23 Apr 2013
Date Written: November 2, 2011
This paper reviews the permanently expanding literature on gender discrimination in management, focusing on women in decision making positions from both the public and private sphere. Different psychological mechanisms (such as stereotyping, attribution or equity), that are not necessarily mutually exclusive but rather complementary, determine individual manifestations in the form of discrimination (ranging from formal to informal, covert to overt and so on) against females. As a result, women are either underrepresented in top management (under normal conditions) or overrepresented in risky managerial positions (in periods of organizational crisis or downturn).
Furthermore, even in the limited number of sectors where women represent more than half of the labor force (such as nursing, primary education or social services) men have better odds of being promoted, due to formal or informal assistance received from mentors of the same gender. Albeit rather incremental shifts toward a better representation of women in decision making positions can be observed in the last decades, both statistical and experimental data show that there is still a long way until their representation in managerial positions will reflect their involvement in the workforce.
Keywords: gender discrimination in management, women in decision making positions, psychological mechanisms of discrimination, the glass ceiling, the glass cliff, the glass elevator
JEL Classification: J70, J71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation