The Glass Pyramid: Informal Gender Status Hierarchy on Boards

Journal of Business Ethics 168 (4):827-845 (2019)
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Drawing on the status characteristic theory, we investigate the effect of gender on board directors’ status ranking and find that all else being equal, female directors’ status ranking is 81.48% of one position lower than that of male directors, a discrepancy that is attributable to gender. We theorize on the mechanism that determines the ways in which the status value of gender on a board affects board interactions, and we predict how this mechanism influences firm outcomes, including excessive managerial spending, social responsibility performance, and firm risk. We test our hypotheses in Chinese firms using an unbalanced panel that includes 5396 firm-year observations for a period of 6 years and find them supported.



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