Maybe women should just change their names to Peter? A qualitative study on the attitude of CEOs to gender equality as an organizational goal and mandatory diversity targets as a strategy towards gender equality
Scholars agree that CEO attitude to a large extent predicts the gender equality actions of a company. However, knowledge about what factors influence the attitude of CEOs can still be expanded, especially how motivational attributes influence the attitude is still missing. Therefore, this study aims to contribute to the scientific literature about the attitude of CEOs to gender equality as an organizational goal and to mandatory diversity targets as a strategy towards gender equality, by looking at the regulatory focus of CEOs. To be able to make this contribution, the regulatory focus and attitude of CEOs of large companies in the Netherlands were measured. The results of the questionnaire, interviews, and company documents reveal that the attitude of promotion-focused CEOs differs from those of prevention-focused CEOs. Promotion-focused CEOs support gender equality as an organizational goal, whereas prevention-focused CEOs show more resistance. When it comes to mandatory diversity targets, both show resistance but in different ways. These findings help to gain a better understanding of the factors influencing the attitude of CEOs. Moreover, the study adds especially to the concept of resistance, which is important because scholars state that change will not happen when leaders are not supportive.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen