Gender in top management research: Towards a comprehensive research framework

Heike Mensi-Klarbach

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to offer a multi-layered approach to gender topics in top management team research.

Design/methodology/approach: Recent empirical work on the role of gender diversity in top management teams will be reviewed and contrasted with gender and diversity theory.

Findings: The results show that gender diversity has often been operationalized and defined in a highly stereotypical fashion, strongly rooted in assumed biological traits (in particular male/female skills and aptitudes). This very simplistic assumption that men and women behave differently does not take into account gender and diversity theories, but simply reproduces gender stereotypes. As a result, a framework is presented that takes societal, organizational, group and individual variables into account to understand the impact of gender in top management positions.

Research limitations/implications: The paper is a conceptual paper aiming at enriching scholarly work on gender and top management teams by considering several potentially gendered processes on different layers: society, organizations, groups and individuals.

Originality/value: This concept is the first to offer a fresh perspective on the intensively researched topic of gender and performance in top management. By overcoming the stereotypical view that the contributions of female and male managers are inherently different, the paper aims to enrich the scholarly debate on relevant top management characteristics, and furthermore ensure that discriminatory ascriptions to female and male managers are not reproduced through academic work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538 - 552
JournalManagement Research Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014

Cite this