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date: 23 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

There is now an international agenda to increase women’s representation at the top of organizations. This agenda is driven in part by a business case arguing that gender diversity brings value, particularly economic value, to organizations. In this article, we review the empirical evidence linking women’s representation in senior leadership roles to countable, verifiable organizational outcomes (e.g., organizational financial performance, practices, and demographics). We consider women’s impact when they are CEOs, directors on corporate boards, members of the top management team, and managers. We conclude that women at the top have an impact on organizational outcomes, but this impact is more visible on organizational practices and organizational demography than on financial performance. We recommend that researchers studying the gender-performance link at the organizational level make their theoretical perspectives explicit, distinguish among mediating mechanisms, be selective in their outcome choices, and increase their emphasis on contextual moderators.

Keywords: women, senior management, boards of directors, senior leadership, organizational outcomes, financial performance, CEOs, directors, top management teams, managers

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