Female Representation at the Top and Employee Leadership Aspirations
01 / 2011 - 01 / 2015
Women are underrepresented in the executive suites and boardrooms of most organisations. This is despite ample evidence that links female representation in top leadership positions with superior corporate performance. There are several barriers to women s advancement to senior leadership positions. These include socio-cultural barriers such as traditionally-accepted gender roles and cultural stereotypes of leadership that favour men over women in the workplace. Other barriers may be organisational such as the demand for long work hours, relocation, and the challenge of obtaining desirable assignments, or personal, such as balancing work and family obligations. Due to these challenges, women may be less motivated to pursue top leadership positions. They may, therefore, be less likely to actively seek promotion than their male counterparts. This cycle may perpetuate women s underrepresentation in top leadership. In my research, I intend to identify organisational environments that encourage women to seek promotion to leadership positions. More specifically, I want to shed light on the effect of female representation in top management on the leadership aspirations and promotion-seeking behaviours of women and men at lower organisational levels. I suggest that gender differences in leadership aspirations and promotion-seeking behaviours may be moderated by women s representation at the top when several conditions are met.