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Female leaders improve workplace culture, research suggests

Aug 4, 2021
5 min Read
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Having women in top leadership positions can improve an organization’s workplace culture, according to a recent study by Creighton researchers.

The research paper, "Amplifying the Female Advantage: The Impact of Female Representation in Top Management on Employees' Work Experience," was accepted at the 2021 Annual American Accounting Association conference and the 2021 Annual Academy of Management (AOM) conference.

Drawing on upper-echelon and signaling theories, the paper argues that female representation in top management integrates a feminine management style that is more likely to improve the workplace by creating a greater work-life balance and a positive organizational culture.

“We are always interested in studying and exploring the role of female leadership in the workplace, and believe women leaders can be impactful and unique in their own management styles,” says Sijing Wei, PhD, assistant professor of accounting and business intelligence and analytics at Creighton’s Heider College of Business.“That is why we look at how they particularly impact employees’ perceptions in the workplace.”

Using a proprietary dataset of employee ratings from more than 5,000 firm-year observations, the study found employee ratings of work-life balance and organizational culture are significantly higher in organizations when women are members of the top management team. These findings were particularly strong in younger firms and firms with more centralized operating structures.

Working with Wei on the research paper were Regina Taylor, PhD, associate professor of marketing and management at Heider; Darryl Rice, PhD, at Miami University in Ohio; and Yiding Wang, PhD, a recent doctoral graduate from the University of Oklahoma. The research was funded by a grant from Creighton University’s Dr. George F. Haddix President's Faculty Research Fund.