Handbook on Women in Business and Management
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Handbook on Women in Business and Management

Edited by Diana Bilimoria and Sandy Kristin Piderit

This comprehensive Handbook presents specially commissioned original essays on the societal roles and contexts facing women in business and management, the specific career and work–life issues of women in these fields, organizational processes affecting women, and the role of women as leaders in business and management. The essays shed light on the extant structures and practices of society and organizations that constrain or facilitate women’s representation, treatment, quality of life, and success.
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Chapter 12: The Effectiveness of Human Resource Management Practices for Promoting Women’s Careers

Alison M. Konrad


Alison M. Konrad Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, management researchers have shown increasing interest in organizational Human Resource Management (HRM) practices, their antecedents and their effects. Evidence that HRM practices can contribute to firm financial performance (for example Huselid et al., 1997; Welbourne and Cyr, 1999) spawned the management subfield of Strategic Human Resource Management, which resulted in a burgeoning and influential stream of literature (Colbert, 2004; Wright and Snell, 1998). At about the same time, the field of workplace diversity emerged. The primary impetus of the development of the workplace diversity field was the Hudson Institute’s publication of Workforce 2000: Work and Workers in the 21st Century (Johnston and Packer, 1987). Workforce 2000 made the case that in order to remain competitive, organizations would have to change their HRM practices to attract, motivate and retain the new, more demographically diverse workforce entering the US labor market in the year 2000. Subsequent authors elaborated these arguments to develop the business case for diversity (for example, Cox and Blake, 1991; Robinson and Dechant, 1997). The business case for diversity has three major components: • Diverse groups can outperform homogeneous groups in tasks requiring problem-solving or creativity • Market intelligence provided by a diverse employee group can provide organizations with better methods for reaching a diverse customer base • Firms that manage diversity well will attract, motivate, develop and retain the best talent from all demographic groups, thereby outperforming firms that cannot manage diversity effectively. The business case for diversity implies...

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