Conceptual Review of Underrepresentation of Women in Senior Leadership Positions From a Perspective of Gendered Social Status in the Workplace: Implication for HRD Research and Practice

Gaeun Seo, Wen-Hao Huang, Seung Hyun Caleb Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

An increasing number of studies report more similarities than differences in leadership styles between women and men. However, the evident vertical gender segregation at top management levels still remains a common phenomenon for various organizations. This consistent disparity needs to be addressed by identifying the underlying mechanism embedded in organizational structures that portrays women as less suitable for senior leadership positions than their male counterparts, although evidence suggests that there is no substantial gender difference in leadership styles or behaviors. This conceptual review articulates the deeply rooted gendered social status of organizations by delineating conceptual constructs and relationships regarding women’s delayed advancement to senior leadership positions. The resulting model further implies that the gendered social status associated with women could compromise the effectiveness of human resources development (HRD) interventions initially developed to help women. This understanding prompts reexamination of existing HRD interventions to support women’s career advancement to senior leadership positions in organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-59
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Resource Development Review
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

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Human resource development
Work place
Social status
Leadership style
Organizational structure
Gender differences
Leadership behavior
Segregation
Career advancement
Compromise
Top management

Keywords

  • conceptual review
  • gender
  • social status
  • women’s career advancement to senior leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Cite this

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