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

66 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2017 Last revised: 11 Jul 2018

Nisvan Erkal

The University of Melbourne - Faculty of Business and Economics

Lata Gangadharan

Monash University

Erte Xiao

Monash University

Date Written: May 27, 2018

Abstract

Leadership selection in organizations often requires candidates to actively choose to express their interest in the position. We conjecture that such an Opt-in mechanism may contribute to the gender gap observed in leadership positions. We design an Opt-out mechanism where everyone qualified for the position is in the candidate pool by default and individuals can choose to opt out of the leadership selection process. Data from our experiments show that women are more likely to participate in the leadership selection process under the Opt-out mechanism and this can effectively reduce the gender gap in the selection process.When given a choice between the Opt-in and Opt-out mechanisms, individuals are equally likely to choose either one. We conclude that the Opt-out mechanism can be an effective and feasible way to break the glass ceiling.

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? (May 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3022386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3022386

Nisvan Erkal

The 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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