Leadership Selection: Can Changing the Default Break the Glass Ceiling?

65 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017 Last revised: 10 Jun 2019

See all articles by Nisvan Erkal

Nisvan Erkal

University of Melbourne - Faculty of Business and Economics

Lata Gangadharan

Monash University

Erte Xiao

Monash University

Date Written: June 5, 2019

Abstract

Leadership selection often requires candidates to actively choose to express their interest. We compare such an Opt-in mechanism with an Opt-out mechanism where everyone qualified for the position is in the candidate pool by default, but individuals can choose to opt out of the selection process. Data from experiments reveal a gender gap in participation decisions under the Opt-in mechanism when selection is competitive. The gender gap exists even when individuals know they are the top performers. In contrast, under the Opt-out mechanism, women are more likely to participate, and this effectively reduces the gender gap in leadership selection.

Keywords: Gender inequality; Glass ceiling; Leadership selection; Defaults; Laboratory experiments

JEL Classification: C92, J16, D01

Suggested Citation

Erkal, Nisvan and Gangadharan, Lata and Xiao, Erte, Leadership Selection: Can Changing the Default Break the Glass Ceiling? (June 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3022386

Nisvan Erkal

University of Melbourne - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Victoria, 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 3307 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 6899 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nisvanerkal.net

Lata Gangadharan

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Erte Xiao (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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