Does it take one to know one? Organizational gender demography and women's appointments to HR senior management positions

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWorking Paper/Preprint


This study examines the role of organizational gender demography in the appointment of women to HR director positions. It wants to advance the understanding of the organizational mechanisms that shape women’s prospects to reach senior management positions in HR. Results from an international survey of 6,651 companies in 25 countries show that a higher proportion of women working at the HR staff level significantly increases the likelihood of a female HR director. While a high level of cooperation between the HR department and line management reinforces this effect, recruitment policy and the strategic role of HR do not influence the likelihood of a female HR director. Our results point to the relevance of leader-subordinate relations and intergroup interaction for demographic effects, but they show no importance of formalized structures. The final part sets forth practical conclusions and suggestions for follow-up research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009

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