No room at the top? A system dynamics view of the recursive consequences of women’s underrepresentation in international assignments

Article


Bastida, M., Pinto, L. and Harzing, A. 2021. No room at the top? A system dynamics view of the recursive consequences of women’s underrepresentation in international assignments. Journal of Global Mobility. 9 (3), pp. 361-381. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-04-2021-0047
TypeArticle
TitleNo room at the top? A system dynamics view of the recursive consequences of women’s underrepresentation in international assignments
AuthorsBastida, M., Pinto, L. and Harzing, A.
Abstract

Purpose: The expatriation literature has developed an insightful body of research on the reasons why women are not assigned abroad as frequently as men. However, we know very little about the systemic and recursive consequences of women’s underrepresentation in international assignments (IAs), which are examined in this conceptual paper.
Design/methodology/approach: Drawing upon expatriation research and a system dynamics perspective, we propose a conceptual model to explain both women’s underrepresentation in IAs and its recursive consequences.
Findings: We highlight how women’s underrepresentation in IAs results from a complex system of recursive effects that jeopardizes women’s professional development and undermines both their own career progression to top management and firms’ competitive advantage and international growth. We argue that organizations make decisions that contravene their own interest in a competitive global environment. First, because they are limiting their talent pool by not considering female candidates. Second, because they are missing the opportunity to use IAs to advance women’s careers.
Research implications/limitations: Our model provides a solid grounding for future research on selecting the most effective organizational actions and designing support-ive measures to disrupt the persistent dynamics contributing to women’s underrepresentation in IAs. Future research could also expand our study by incorporating individual differences and the proactive role that women may take.
Managerial implications: Our model points to specific managerial interventions (e.g., increased access to job-training and specific training ahead of the assignment, dual-career support, women’s mentoring, and affirmative action) which have the potential to reduce women’s underrepresentation in IAs and in top management.
Originality: Our system dynamics approach enables a broader understanding of why women are underrepresented in IAs, how this underrepresentation further exacer-bates gender segregation in international business, and how these recursive outcomes can be averted to the advantage of firms’ sustainable growth.

KeywordsWomen expatriates; International assignments; Expatriate selection; Careers; System dynamics
LanguageEnglish
PublisherEmerald
JournalJournal of Global Mobility
ISSN2049-8799
Publication dates
Online23 Aug 2021
Print14 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Aug 2021
Accepted02 Aug 2021
Accepted14 Apr 2021
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-04-2021-0047
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