WHEN HE AND SHE SELL SEASHELLS: EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MANAGEMENT TEAM GENDER-BALANCE AND SMALL FIRM PERFORMANCE
Vol. Volume 7, Number 4 December/2002
REGINALD A. LITZ and CATHLEEN A. FOLKER
Small businesses are resource disadvantaged and need to leverage every resource at their disposal. One resource that may exist, but is all too often overlooked, is that of management team gender-balance. Gender-balance represents a resource because of the unique and complementary gender-based differences that exist between men and women. Building on this assumption, it can be hypothesized that firm performance will be highest for organizations that optimize the balance between male and female managers. This article tests this hypothesis, and reports results from a study of small retail hardware stores. Compared to stores that were either exclusively or disproportionately single gender-managed, stores characterized by greater management team gender-balance reported superior profitability. This pattern was further supported holding management team size constant for stores with two and three person management teams. After noting several interpretative caveats, we conclude by reflecting on the research- and practitioner-related implications of these findings.