Gender & Leadership: Do Human Resource Policies and Practices Affect a Woman’s Ascent in Organizations?

Arielle Langlais, Bryant University

Document Type Dissertation


As more women began assuming leadership roles in organization, researchers established a number of consistencies in the promotion of women into the upper ranks of an organization. Jonsen, Maznevski, and Schneider have taken a look at these differences in their study, “Gender Differences in Leadership: Believing is Seeing.” In this study they examine three ways in which organizations view women and the Human Resource policies and programs that support these views. Based on this and other research, I conducted a study in hopes of assessing the validity and existence of these views as they are evident in Southern New England organizations. Through interviews with ten prominent women in eight organizations, I have found that these views are evident in many organizations. Some organizations, however, have Human Resource Programs that do not fit into these categories and should therefore be classified into separate paradigms. Additionally, a clear disconnect has been assessed between the programs an organization has in place and those programs that women believe they would benefit the most from. This leads me to believe that there is a lack of communication between employees and human resource departments.