A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON GENDER BIAS IN THE UPPER ECHELONS: WHY STAKEHOLDER VARIABILITY MATTERS

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Abstract

We introduce a novel stakeholder-oriented framework that highlights variance in the application and expression of gender bias in the upper echelons. Directed by their relationship with the firm's leadership, we theorize that stakeholders' appraisals of top female leaders map onto a categorical and complex continuum. At the "categorical" end of this continuum, stakeholders neither have access nor are attentive to capability cues fromthe leader, increasing their reliance on stereotypes and gender biases in their leader evaluations. At the "complex" end of the continuum, stakeholders have access and are attentive to capability cues from the leader, decreasing their reliance on stereotypes and increasing their ability to accurately evaluate the leader. Between these ends, stakeholders evaluate female leaders by applying stereotypes and striving for accuracy to varying degrees. Each region on this continuum is linked to an array of behavioral responses, directed by stakeholders toward a target leader, that differ in valence and intensity. Our framework has significant implications for understanding a variety of social biases beyond gender, and enables the development of tailored strategies that can be used to facilitate accurate leader evaluations by all stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-343
Number of pages22
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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