By Katherine A. Frear
Center for Creative Leadership
Samantha C. Paustian‐Underdahl
Eric D. Heggestad & Lisa Slattery Walker
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Despite women’s advancements in the workplace, gender inequality persists. We classify and test two frameworks used to explain gender differences in career success: unequal attributes and unequal effects. The unequal attributes framework suggests that gender is related to other attributes, which result in unequal career outcomes for men and women (i.e., a mediated effect). The unequal effects framework suggests that even when men and women share the same attribute or circumstances, they are rewarded differently, such that individual attributes have unequal effects on career outcomes for men and women (i.e., a moderated effect). We collected survey data from a gender-balanced sample of 394 business school alumni. Using structural equation modeling to test the unequal attributes framework, we found that work hours, career orientation, having a non-employed spouse, and working in a predominantly female job were unequal attributes that explained gender differences in career success. Using multigroup path analysis to examine unequal effects, we found that being agentic, married, having children at home, and working in a predominantly female workplace had unequal effects in relation to career success for men and women. We find support for both models across three categories of career success antecedents (i.e., personal, family, and job attributes).
Frear, K. A., Paustian‐Underdahl, S. C., Heggestad, E. D., & Walker, L. S. (2019). Gender and career success: A typology and analysis of dual paradigms. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 40(4), 400–416. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2338