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Gender differences in top leadership roles: Does aversion to worker backlash matter?

Priyanka Chakraborty and Danila Serra

No 1807, Departmental Working Papers from Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Top leadership positions involve the necessity of making decisions, like promotions, demotions and dismissals, which please some employees and upset others. Backlash from unhappy employees may therefore arise. We examine whether the anticipation of such backlash induces women, more than men, to select out of top leadership roles and to perform differently when/if they become leaders. We conduct a novel laboratory experiment that simulates corporate decision-making. We fi nd that women are signi ficantly less likely to self-select into a managerial position when facing the possibility of receiving angry messages from employees. However, once in a leadership role, women perform no differently than men and are unaffected by the possibility of worker backlash. We also nd that male and female managers have di¤erent leadership styles, i.e. they motivate their employees differently, and that female managers receive signi ficantly more angry messages from employees.

Keywords: Gender differences; leadership; experiment. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D91 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-gen, nep-hrm and nep-lab
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