PhD Event


Ting Huang - 2nd year PhD presentation

Bridging the Yin and Yang: Antecedents of Top Management Team Gender Diversity in Chinese city government

Info about event


Monday 15 August 2022,  at 10:00 - 10:45




Department of Management

Supervisors: Anders R. Villadsen & Jacob Arnoldi
Discussants: Pernille Smith & Jakob Lauring

Women remain stubbornly underrepresented in leadership positions in the public sector (Salvaj & Kuschel, 2020). Upper echelon theory famously proposes that organizational outcomes can be explained by demographic compositions of the top management team (TMT), e.g. gender heterogeneity, as a mirror of their cognitive frames (Hambrick, 2007). Research in public administration has, to some extent, followed this suggestion and been dedicated to investigating how gender diversity in TMTs affects organizational outcomes, such as financial performance (Opstrup & Villadsen, 2015) and innovation (Arena, Catuogno, Saggese, & Sarto, 2021; Huang & Villadsen, 2021). So far, however, much less research has been devoted to understanding why some organizations have more representation of women in their TMT while others do not (Yang, Connolly, & Connolly, 2022). There is a critical gap in uncovering the barriers to increasing gender diversity in public sector TMTs.

This paper explores the antecedents of female presence in TMTs of public organizations. A unique data set covering 280 Chinese city governments from 2010-2018 was used to investigate whether organizational crisis and women's representation at higher-level positions play a role in TMT gender diversity and under what conditions these factors will have an added impact on TMT gender diversity. The results suggest that the glass cliff phenomenon, that women tend to be appointed to leadership positions in the time of crisis, may be culturally dependent and does not hold in the Chinese context. Instead, women tend to fall off the cliff when organizations suffer from financial decline. Further, cities with a female party secretary (top politician in a city) are likely to have fewer women in their TMTs and this negative relationship is stronger in cities with strong cultural conservatism. Implications for research on TMT gender diversity are discussed.

Everyone is welcome!