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Gender and organization science: introduction to a virtual special issue


Organization Science


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Fernandez-Mateo I;Kaplan S

Publication Year



Gendered processes and outcomes are pervasive in organizational life. They shape how individuals perceive their career prospects, which types of opportunities they pursue, how they get work done within organizations, and how they balance this work with the rest of their life. Organizations themselves also shape and are shaped by gender dynamics, from the ways they design jobs and performance evaluation systems to the assumptions managers make about individuals’ preferences and motivations. This virtual special issue collects together 14 papers published in Organization Science that challenge common understandings about the sources of gender differences in career outcomes, the effects of balancing work–life obligations, and the ways that gender dynamics play out in teams and organizations. An important insight that emerges from a comparison of these studies is that demand effects are often confused for supply effects. What looks like a supply problem—we think that women choose not to aspire to top positions or to jobs in top paying fields—might actually be a demand problem—organizations or jobs look unappealing to women because of past histories of not hiring or promoting women into leadership roles or of making work–life balance appear to be impossible. These studies suggest that essentialist explanations that attribute gendered outcomes to inherent characteristics or choices of women might be too simplistic or inaccurate. Instead, future research would benefit from examining the complex interactions between supply-side and demand-side drivers of gender inequality.

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