Rutgers Professor Finds Women Executives Are Better at Promoting Diversity in the Workforce

According to a new article from a scholar at Rutgers University Camden, women executives are much more effective than their male peers at increasing organizational diversity. In her article, Dr. Anuja Gupta, an assistant professor of management in the School of Business, cites a major study of leadership competencies of 7,000 executives that shows that women scored better than men in 12 of 16 competencies in the evaluation.

“Women outperform men in several key competencies: collaboration, inspiring others, motivating others, listening, and being accepting of others, for example,” said Dr. Gupta. “Many of these are nurturing competencies. If you put that in context of diversity, these competencies are the kind that enhance diversity.”

Additionally, Dr Gupta stresses the importance of diversity initiatives in the workplace considering the growing number of women and minority professionals. In 2015, minorities made up 39 percent of the United States workforce, while 46.7 percent were women. By 2024, estimates are that 43 percent of the workforce will be minorities, and 47 percent will be women. However, despite the body of evidence that shows the benefits of diverse workforce, leadership positions at the top remain dominated by men; 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies’ CEOs are women, and only 20.2 percent of board members of those companies are women.

“Diversity has been studied in an organizational context for many, many years and the findings are very clear: diversity increases creativity, innovation, and leads to higher quality decision-making,” says Dr. Gupta. “Organizations will need to be culturally inclusive to attract top talent and retain this talent. Diverse organizations can also create culturally competent workforces allowing them to be more effective in relation to their customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, who may be diverse on many dimensions.”

Dr. Gupta has served as an assistant professor of management in the School of Business at Rutgers University Camden since 2012 and as a senior fellow for the Mack Center for Technological Innovation in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania since 2011. She holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, India, and a Ph.D. in management from the University of Pennsylvania.

The full article, “Women Leaders and Organizational Diversity: Their Critical Role in Promoting Diversity in Organizations,” was published in the international journal Development and Learning in Organizations. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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