The view at the top or signing at the bottom? Workplace diversity responsibility and women's representation in management

Mary Eileen Graham, Maura A. Belliveau, Julie L. Hotchkiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Women lag men in their representation in management jobs, which negatively affects women's careers and company performance. Using data from 81 publicly traded firms with more than 2, 000 establishments, the authors examine the impact of two management structures that may influence gender diversity in management positions. The authors find no association between the presence of an HR executive on the top management team-a structure envisioned in practice as enhancing diversity but which could, instead, operate merely symbolically-and the proportion of women in management. By contrast, the authors show a strong, positive association between a previously unexamined measure of commitment to diversity-the hierarchical rank of the individual certifying the company's required, confidential federal EEO-1 report-and women's representation in management. These findings counter the common perception that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations are too weak to affect gender diversity. The authors discuss the implications for diversity scholarship, as well as for management practice and public policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-258
Number of pages36
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume70
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • EEO compliance
  • Gender discrimination
  • Gender segregation
  • HR executive
  • Women in management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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