Empirical Essays on Gender in Organizations

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2021

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This dissertation consists of three empirical essays on gender and organizations. It contributes to our understanding of the mechanisms that produce and reproduce gender inequality within organizations. The essays of this dissertation address causes of organizational gender inequality at the interpersonal and institutional levels. They do so drawing on rich datasets; one matching restricted-access administrative data on firms and their employees to data on acquisition deals, and a second one built during a year-long field study conducted at the headquarters of a multinational firm. In the first essay, I investigate the role of national culture on organizational inequality in the context of foreign acquisitions in France. I find that gender egalitarianism measured at the country level influences firm-level gender equality outcomes. In particular, I find that firms acquired by acquirers from more gender-egalitarian countries see a larger increase in female representation in management and a larger decrease in gender pay gap post-acquisition, compared to firms that get acquired by acquirers from less gender-egalitarian countries. This main effect is stronger when the post-acquisition integration process is more thorough and when a new CEO is appointed at the acquired firm. The second essay examines if the consistency between employees’ observed workflow networks and formally prescribed workflows is associated with individual employee performance and examines how gender-role expectations affect this relationship. I find, together with my co-authors, a relationship between the consistency between an employee’s formally prescribed workflow network and their observed workflow network, and their work performance. I find that this relationship between consistency and employee performance is contingent on the employee’s position in the formal structure; employees who are lower in the hierarchy (where roles imply lower levels of autonomy and higher task specificity) receive greater rewards when their actual workflow network is more consistent with their prescribed workflow network. This relationship however weakens for employees who are higher in the hierarchy (where roles imply higher levels of autonomy and lower task specificity). In turn, I find that employees’ gender does not matter for the relationship between workflow network consistency, position in the hierarchy, and individual performance.The third essay considers how gendered workplace contexts affect female employees' network building and in turn their career outcomes. I investigate how gender plays into the relationship between propinquity and network building. I exploit data from a quasi-field experiment leading to the reconfiguration of the seating plan in an office to investigate, following this exogenous shock on spatial proximity, gender differences in how employees form ties with desk neighbors. I further study how this reconfiguration impacts their network positions when said neighbors are experimentally manipulated to be dissimilar in terms of functional membership. I find that reconfiguring the seating plan of an office can help countervail structural and agentic barriers to network brokerage for female employees. Following the reconfiguration, I show that female employees are more likely than male employees to form friendship ties with their new desk neighbors and that women’s friendship networks are more likely to become more brokerage-rich.

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Lluent, Tatiana Michelle (2021). Empirical Essays on Gender in Organizations. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22992.

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