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
Date Written: June 1, 2020
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
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