Women on Top: The Human Effects of Women Leaders in Business Organizations

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The Ohio State University

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It is a well documented fact that there are few women in top executive positions in business organizations. In this research I examine the effect of having women in top executive positions on an organization’s human qualities (such as being recognized as a best company to work for) and on its financial success. Using a ten-year content analysis of five different annual rankings generated by credible business publications, and a case study analysis, this research examines trends and predictors of corporate success as indicated by an organization’s Fortune 500 ranking. Findings from this research offer compelling evidence on the impact of women in top executive positions on an organization’s softer, human qualities, and on the proverbial, all-important bottom-line, its financial success. The contribution of this research is three-fold – 1) it uses a novel research methodology to answer an oft-asked business question, what makes organizations successful? Both the dependent measure and the predictors are derived from publicly-available annual rankings of companies; 2) it makes a strong case for the effect of an organization’s human qualities on financial success; 3) its findings argue for greater gender diversity at the top echelons of corporate power, a finding supported by recent research on counter-stereotypical leaders (Matta and Folkes 2005, 2008).



Women, Leaders, Business, Gender, Diversity