Research seminars at the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre

Previous talks on the subject of women in business have recently included:

14 October 2021 | Online

Don’t be left holding the mop: Gender differences in participation in, and reward for, office glamour work versus office housework

Dr Isabella Grabner, Professor of Strategy and Managerial Accounting, Vienna University of Economics and Business

The Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre (WLC) is thrilled to announce the return of the Professor Sucheta Nadkarni Research Seminar Series, on 14 October 2021, for its second year. This seminar series honours our friend and colleague, and former Director of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre the late Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, and her pioneering research into gender diversity.

This year’s Professor Sucheta Nadkarni Research Seminar will be delivered by Dr Isabella Grabner, Professor of Strategy and Managerial Accounting at Vienna University of Economics and Business. The seminar entitled – Don’t be left holding the mop: Gender differences in participation in, and reward for, office glamour work versus office housework – continues to explore issues of gender diversity in alignment with Sucheta’s outstanding research in the field.

Dr Isabella Grabner is Professor of Strategy and Managerial Accounting at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business). Having obtained her PhD from WU Vienna in 2009, she rejoined WU in 2018 after being on the faculty of Maastricht University. She currently serves as the President of the AAA Management Accounting Section. Her research focuses on the role of performance management in complex contexts such as creativity and innovation or the identification, development and retention of (female) talent as well as on the determinants and consequences of target setting, budgeting and forecasting systems. She also studies the challenges firms face with the adoption of management innovations or new technologies.

Her work is published in leading scholarly journals such as Accounting, Organizations and Society, Contemporary Accounting Research, Journal of Accounting ResearchJournal of Management Accounting Research, and The Accounting Review. She has received numerous awards for her research, including the highly prestigious 2016 Best Early Career Researcher in Management Accounting (awarded by American Accounting Association), the 2014 Maastricht University Excellent Young Scholar Award, and the 2012 Management Accounting Section Midyear Meeting Outstanding Paper Award. 

13 October 2020 |Online

A License to Tick-Off the Box: Female Representation in Top Management and Organizational Diversity Priority

Dr Lionel Paolella, Cambridge Judge Business School

Lionel Paolella is an Associate Professor at Cambridge Judge Business School, and an Affiliated Faculty at Harvard Law School (Center on Legal Profession). He graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS) in France, after which he took a MA in Sociology at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), a MS in Management and Organization Science (University Paris X), and a PhD in Strategy (HEC Paris). Before joining the University of Cambridge, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago (Booth Graduate School of Business) in 2011, and a Chazen visiting scholar at Columbia University (Graduate School of Business) between September 2012 and December 2013.

Lionel’s main line of research explores: 1) how market categories – a set of firms that share cognitive and cultural similarities – affect the social evaluation and performance of organisations (e.g. in the international legal services market or the Islamic banking industry) and 2) how to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in organisations.

Lionel currently teaches the core Strategy course and the ED&I module in the MBA curriculum, and he is also involved in many Executive Education programmes (Strategy, General Management, Professional Service Firms, Diversity Trainings). He received the Cambridge Judge Teaching Award in 2017, the MBA Faculty of the Year Award in 2018, and he has been listed among the Best 40 under 40 Professors by Poets and Quants in 2019.

14 January 2019 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Overcoming the Liability of Gender: Collaboration Networks and Entrepreneurial Patenting by Garage Inventors

Dr Michelle Rogan, Kenan-Flagler Business School

What roles do collaboration networks play in explaining gender differences in entrepreneurial entry? Are network effects gender symmetric or asymmetric?

The research investigates these questions by comparing rates of entrepreneurial patenting in a matched sample of male and female “garage inventors”, observing inventors’ patenting and collaboration networks from their first independent patents to their first entrepreneurial patents (new patents with newly formed firms).

The rate of entrepreneurial patenting by female inventors is significantly increased when they have been collaborating in larger inventive teams, larger inventive networks or mixed gender teams.

Further analysis shows that of these effects, team size and network size are gender symmetric, increasing rates of entrepreneurial patenting in the same way for men and women. However, the mixed gender team effect is asymmetric, increasing rates for women but decreasing rates for men. Although developing broader networks is important for women, working on mixed gender teams may provide them with a unique advantage.

The study also points to the need for additional research into the asymmetry of network effects on entrepreneurship.

Dr Michelle Rogan’s research centers on corporate entrepreneurship. She focuses on acquisitions of social capital, such as how firms use acquisitions of target firms to gain valuable inter-organisational relationships to customers, suppliers and other business partners in the advertising industry.

She is investigating the effect of competition among clients of advertising firms on the formation of new advertising agencies both within and outside of existing advertising holding companies. In the consulting industry, Dr Rogan is exploring how ownership rights to inter-organisational relationships affect new business development in established firms.

Dr Rogan’s research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organisation Science, Management Science and Annual Review of Sociology.

She joined UNC Kenan-Flagler from INSEAD. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a management consultant at Accenture in San Francisco where she was involved in the implementation of large-scale change initiatives including corporate entrepreneurship efforts in global technology firms. The focus of her client work involved the mobilisation of sponsorship networks to support corporate renewal efforts in these firms as well as the design and implementation of firm-wide training programmes.

Dr Rogan received her PhD in Strategic and International Management from London Business School and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yale University.

27 September 2018 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Spoken like a Woman: How Gender Influences CEO Communication

Professor Gerry McNamara, Michigan State University

Given their central roles in organisations, investors and analysts are likely to assess the leadership qualities of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in public interactions. In such settings, female CEOs face a challenge since individuals typically view leadership roles as masculine and expect leaders to exhibit agentic characteristics. At the same time, due to gender stereotypes, individuals typically expect females to display communal qualities. Analysing quarterly earnings’ call transcripts, we develop and test arguments about how female CEOs manage this tension and balance the need to be seen as both agentic and communal. We also develop arguments about how investors respond to the agentic and communal attributes of CEO communication. Our findings largely support our hypothesised model.

Professor McNamara is a professor of management at Michigan State University. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on examining the effects of behavioural factors, organisational practices, and strategic positioning on organisational decision-making and risk taking. His research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, the Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Management, and the Journal of International Business Studies. His research on mergers and acquisitions has been abstracted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Economist, Harvard Business Review Daily Stat, and Business Week. Additionally, he has been honoured as the JMI Scholar of the Year by the Western Academy of Management.  He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Strategic Management Journal and served as an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Journal from 2010-2013.

17 October 2017 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Acceleration as Mitigation: Whether and When Process Solutions Can Address Gender Bias in Entrepreneurship

Professor Sarah Kaplan, University of Toronto

Increasing attention – both in the scholarly literature and in the world of policy makers and practitioners – is being paid to the challenges facing female entrepreneurs. What was once assumed to be a merit-based system for encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurs is now understood to operate in gendered ways that in many cases disadvantage female founders. These effects occur across the entire pipeline, beginning with the dearth of women seeking to start high growth companies, to the lack of funding opportunities and mentorship. There are substantial differences in the number of startups led by women, their levels of relevant experience and the amount of funding – both debt and equity – they seek and receive. Some have argued that women tend to found lower potential startups. Yet, even controlling for quality, we see many implicit biases in how female founders are treated. One important approach to redressing inequalities might be through the use of accelerators. Entrepreneurship accelerators are proliferating in both developed and developing economies as different cities, regions and sectors seek to increase economic growth and employment. Accelerators are designed to give a boost to startups by providing in a concentrated way the mentorship, networks, training and financing required to be successful. The presence of accelerators could have the potential to solve some of the challenges female entrepreneurs face, however preliminary evidence suggests that they, for the most part, seem to be perpetuating the gendered dynamics that exist in the entrepreneurial system. On the other hand, there is no systematic research on how accelerators do or might address the gendered dynamics of entrepreneurship. Because accelerators are seen as such an important policy tool for increasing entrepreneurial success, it is imperative that we develop and analyse systematic data on accelerators and their effects, particularly on female founders. In this study, we will draw on what is known to date on female entrepreneurs and more broadly on the research on gender in organisations and the economy to understand the dynamics of acceleration in entrepreneurship. Using a longitudinal database of over 3,000 ventures in nearly 50 accelerators, we trace the effects of selection into the accelerator and the acceleration process on outcomes for women-only, women-led, and male-only venture teams. We couple survey data with interviews of accelerators to understand whether and when acceleration can be a tool for mitigating gender bias in female entrepreneurship.

Sarah Kaplan is Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. She is author of the New York Times business bestseller, Creative Destruction, challenging the notion of sustainable competitive advantage and the myth of excellence, and the recently released Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business. Her work has focused on generating insights that can help companies avoid this cultural lock-in and innovate at the pace and scale of the market. Her current research continues this exploration of how organisations participate in and respond to the emergence of new fields and technologies. She recently authored “Gender Equality as an Innovation Challenge” in the Rotman Magazine (2017), “The Risky Rhetoric of Female Risk Aversion” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (2016), “Meritocracy: From Myth to Reality” in the Rotman Management Magazine (2015), and “The Rise of Gender Capitalism,” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (2014).

Formerly a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she remains a Senior Fellow; and a consultant and innovation specialist for nearly a decade at McKinsey & Company in New York, she completed her doctoral research at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

21 November 2016 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Bringing the Boss’s Politics In: Supervisor Political Ideology and the Gender Gap in Earnings

Professor Aparna Joshi, Penn State University

The gender gap in earnings and rewards remains persistent across many professional and managerial work contexts. In these settings, where there are few objective criteria for performance and organisational mechanisms are weak, we propose that personal political values can serve as a powerful influence on whether supervisors reduce or enhance inequalities in performance-based rewards. We develop theory about how political liberalism versus conservatism, reflecting different views on social inequality and social change, affect supervisors’ perceptions and allocative decision making. Combining internal personnel and billings data with publicly-available political donation records in a large law firm, we test the effect of political ideology among supervising law firm partners on the performance-based bonuses awarded to male and female subordinate lawyers. We find the male-female gender gap in performance-based pay is reduced for professional workers tied to liberal supervisors, relative to conservative supervisors. We further find this political ideology effect increases for workers with greater seniority in the organisation. Our findings contribute to an understanding of the determinants of the gender earnings gap, suggesting that in settings where managers have leeway over rewards and careers, their personal political beliefs have an important influence on outcomes for male and female workers.

Aparna Joshi’s work focuses on multilevel issues in workplace diversity, gender issues in science and engineering, collaboration in global and distributed teams, generational issues in the workplace, and international and cross-cultural management. Her work in the area of gender dynamics in engineering work groups was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant. Her research appears in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Organization Science. Aparna’s work has received the Academy of Management’s Saroj Parasuraman Award in 2010, the Dorothy Harlow Distinguished Paper Award in 2006 and 2008, the Ulrich-Lake Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Human Resource Management Journal, and the Academy of Management’s Best Dissertation Award (Gender and Diversity in Organizations division) and has also been featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer, USA Today, and the Times of India. Prior to joining Smeal she was on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and is currently an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Journal. She was awarded the 2014 Cummings Award for Early to Mid-Career Scholarly Achievement, one of the highest professional honors in the field, by the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management.

27 September 2016 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Looking Beyond Corporate Boards: Drivers of Female Representation in Executive Roles

Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, Cambridge Judge Business School

The issue of female representation in corporate leadership positions has taken centre-stage among policy-makers, corporations and academics alike. The central focus of research, discussions and debates has predominantly focused on current female representation on corporate boards, which tells us little about what future strategies are in place to ensure a sustainable pipeline of qualified and board-ready female candidates and longevity of female board representation.

Examining female rise to boardrooms holistically is important to evaluate the degree to which females play a meaningful role on corporate boards and in shaping corporate strategies and outcomes.

Professor Nadkarni will share findings of her award-winning research on the global enablers and inhibitors of women in corporate boardrooms where she examined how economic, cultural, political and regulatory factors in different countries shape female board percentage and sustainability. This research won the highly commented award for thought leadership at the Investment week innovation and marketing awards in 2015 was nominated for the University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor’s impact award in 2016.

Sucheta Nadkarni is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management and head of the strategy and international business group at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and a professorial fellow at Newnham College. She is also the faculty lead of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Cambridge Judge Business School. Her primary research interests include strategic leadership with a special focus on female rise to corporate boards and executive leadership positions. She has published extensively in leading academic journals in management. She is an associate editor of the Academy of Management Journal and the Journal of Management. She also sits on the editorial of four other leading academic journals. She has worked on research projects and grants with companies such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Newton Asset Management, BNY Mellon and The 30% Club. Her research on female rise to boardrooms has been featured in global media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, Huffington Post, Reuters, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Economic Times, The Times of India, Herald Tribune, Borsen, O Globo, The Times (Kuwait), Business Standard and Folha De Sao Paulo.

11 May 2015 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Global Drivers of Female Board Representation: A Multi-Theoretical Perspective

Professor Sucheta Nadkarni & Dr Elaine Y.N. Oon,  Cambridge Judge Business School 

The issue of female representation on the board has taken centre stage among academicians and practitioners alike, but has also generated considerable controversy and debate. Yet, sadly, we know almost nothing as to how this issue pans out globally. The primary motivation of this study is to fill this important gap and to present comprehensive and nuanced explanations of global variations in female representation on the board. We integrate the resource dependence (RDT) (female market participation and proportion of females holding parliamentary seats) and institutional theories (mandatory quotas and corporate governance code) to propose socio-political drivers of global variation in the number and turnover of female board members. We test these propositions using 1045 largest firms (Forbes Global 2000 list) from 41 countries and 51 industries over a 10-year period: 2004-2013. We found that female market participation, female political representation and gender diversity requirement in corporate governance codes related positively to the number of female board members and negatively to female board turnover. However, mandatory quotas related positively to the number of female board members but did not relate significantly to female board turnover. Together, these results point to the importance of RDT and institutional explanations of global variation in female board representation, but also raise questions about the value of quotas in enhancing female board representation and longevity.

Dr Elaine Y.N. Oon (main presenter)
Elaine is a Research Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School, from where she was also awarded her PhD in October 2014. She is currently on a two-year post-doctoral research scholarship, fully funded by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education and her home academic institution, University of Malaya, of which she has been a faculty member since July 2008. Her research interests include top management team and international business.

Professor Sucheta Nadkarni
Sucheta is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. Her primary research interests include strategic leadership, strategic change and competitive dynamics. She has published in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology and MIS Quarterly. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Management and sits on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Journal of Management Inquiry. She has also worked on research projects and grants with companies such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton in the areas of strategic change and leadership, Newton Asset Management and BNY Mellon.

19 March 2015 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Same Same but Different: Unintended Gender Parity & Speculative Isomorphism in India’s Elite Professions

Swethaa Ballakrishnen, Stanford University

Across the globe, elite professional work has been predominantly male-dominated and even committed organisational interventions have been unsuccessful in maintaining completely egalitarian workspaces. In this context, the case of elite law firms in India poses a puzzle. In the country’s most prestigious firms, women are about one half the population, even at senior levels of partnership. This is at odds both with scholarship on women in high status professions as well as the more particular research on India. Using in-depth interviews with 130 elite professionals across different organisational sites, this research adopts comparative frameworks to reveal the organisational mechanisms underlying this unlikely gender parity. Unlike Indian banking and consulting firms that are local offices of elite global conglomerates, elite Indian law firms struggle with issues of organisational legitimacy and feel the need to aggressively differentiate themselves from their more traditional peers. At the same time, as institutions trying to mimic global firms without actual scripts to do so, these firms engage in a form of speculative isomorphism that has unlikely advantages for its actors. These data suggest that equal gender representation is one such mechanism by which these new, elite firms signal meritocracy and modernity to their global audience.

Swethaa Ballakrishnen is a doctorate candidate at the Sociology Department at Stanford University and an affiliate research fellow at the Program of the Legal Profession in Harvard Law School. Her research broadly investigates organisational innovation, stratification and global legal and regulatory influence in emerging markets. Particularly, she is interested in the ways in which the West and the assumptions of the West orient and organise individual outcomes, interactions and institutions in the developing world. At Stanford now, her doctoral research explores the construction of gender and the organisational mechanisms that promote (and inhibit) viable equal opportunity in global legal workspaces.

12 June 2014 | Cambridge Judge Business School

Uncovering the Glass Cliff: Examining the Precariousness of Women’s Leadership Positions

Professor Michelle Ryan, University of Exeter

Research into the glass cliff examines what happens when women (and other minority groups) take on leadership roles in increasing numbers. Extending the metaphor of the glass ceiling, ‘the glass cliff’ describes the phenomenon whereby individuals belonging to particular groups are more likely to be found in leadership positions that are associated with a greater risk of failure and criticism. This talk will describe a programme of research which has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff and investigates the underlying psychological processes.

Michelle Ryan is a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter. With Alex Haslam, she has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff, whereby women (and members of other minority groups) are more likely to be placed in leadership positions which are risky or precarious. Research into the glass cliff has been funded by the ESRC and the ESF. In 2005 it was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Supplement Research Project of the Year and was named by the New York Times as one of the top 100 ideas that shaped 2008.