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Good times, bad times: The impact of organizational dynamics on the careers of male and female managers


Research in the Sociology of Work


Organisational Behaviour

Publication Year



Purpose – This paper investigates the effects of founding, growth, decline, and merger on gender differences in managerial career mobility. These common events create and destroy many jobs, and so have big impacts on managers’ careers. We build on previous research to predict gender differences in job mobility after such events, and show that these gender differences are moderated by the positions managers occupy: level, firm size, and sex composition. Methodology – We test our predictions using archival data on all 3,883 managerial employees in all 333 firms in the California savings and loan industry between 1975 and 1988. We conduct logistic-regression and event-history analyses. Findings – Female managers are less likely than male managers to be hired when the set of jobs expands because of founding and growth, and more likely to exit when the set of jobs contracts because of decline and merger. These gender differences exist because relative to men, women occupy lower-level jobs, work in smaller firms, and work in firms with more women at all managerial ranks. The effects of all but one event (the growth of one's own employer) are moderated by managers’ positions. Value of the paper – Our paper is the first to offer a large-scale test of gender differences in career trajectories in the wake of common organizational events. By showing that these market-shaping events affect male and female managers’ careers differently, and that these effects depend on the positions of male and female managers, we demonstrate economic sociology's potential for studying inequality.

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