Women at Work: How Organizational Features Impact Career Development

Naomi Ellemers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Organizations benefit from gender diversity, as research clearly documents. Nevertheless, statistics reveal consistent gender differences in career development and payment. Women who feel undervalued at work will re-evaluate their priorities and are tempted to “opt out.” Organizations that wish to reap the benefits of gender diversity can profit from behavioral science research identifying mechanisms that may prevent women from making the same career choices as men: (a) implicit bias decreases the odds that women will enter and perform in male-dominated job levels or organizations, (b) glass cliff effects make career development less attractive for women, (c) Queen Bee effects prevent women in leadership from acting as role models for other women, and (d) some work–family approaches imply that women have to give up family life to be successful in their professional career. Being aware of these mechanisms, their implications, and possible remedies can benefit organizations and policy makers, and encourage women in different career stages to “lean in.”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
Number of pages9
JournalPolicy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • career development
  • gender differences
  • gender pay gap
  • glass cliff
  • implicit bias
  • queen bee
  • women and work
  • women in leadership
  • work–family facilitation


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