Congruence between Leadership Gender and Organizational Claims Affects the Gender Composition of the Applicant Pool: Field Experimental Evidence

78 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2019 Last revised: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Mabel Abraham

Mabel Abraham

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Vanessa Burbano

Columbia Business School

Date Written: June 1, 2020

Abstract

To uncover the antecedents of workplace gender segregation, scholars have largely focused on
how men and women sort into different occupations and industries. Gender segregation does not
only vary at the industry level but also at the organizational level, with some firms having greater
degrees of segregation than others. This study advances supply-side explanations of gender
segregation by drawing on theories of congruence to uncover a unique organization-level driver.
We argue and show that congruence between leadership gender and organizational claims is a key
mechanism that drives job-seeker interest. Specifically, organizational claims are gender-typed,
such that social claims engender the female stereotype whereas business claims engender the male stereotype. Thus, while female-led organizations making social claims are gender congruent, male-led firms making the same claims are gender incongruent. Beyond demonstrating a general jobseeker preference for congruence, we argue and show that female job seekers are most interested in working for organizations that are both congruent and provide credible signals that they are fair and equitable employers. The (in)congruence of leadership gender and organizational claims thus affects the gender composition of applicant pools for otherwise identical jobs.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, gender, congruence, labor market, human capital, employees

Suggested Citation

Abraham, Mabel and Burbano, Vanessa, Congruence between Leadership Gender and Organizational Claims Affects the Gender Composition of the Applicant Pool: Field Experimental Evidence (June 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3405693 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3405693

Mabel Abraham

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2659 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/osg/students.php

Vanessa Burbano (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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