Kathleen L. McGinn

21 Results


Mums the Word! Cross-national Effects of Maternal Employment on Gender Inequalities at Work and at Home

This study contributes to a growing body of research that explores the effects of maternal employment on their children's well-being. Female respondents raised by a mother who worked outside the home are more likely to be employed, more likely to hold supervisory responsibility if employed, work more hours, and earn higher hourly wages than women whose mothers were home full time. Sons raised by an employed mother spend more time caring for family members than men whose mothers stayed home full time, and daughters raised by an employed mother spend less time on housework than women whose mothers stayed home full time. Results overall show the power of non-traditional gender role models, especially employed mothers, as critical factors for reducing gender inequality in labor markets and households across the globe. Read More

Kids Benefit From Having a Working Mom

Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time, according to research by Kathleen McGinn and colleagues. Open for comment; 28 Comments posted.

A Company’s Evolving View of Gender Equity

Looking at the evolution of gender in US society over nearly 20 years, a new study by Lakshmi Ramarajan, Kathleen L. McGinn, and Deborah Kolb traces how one prominent professional-service firm internalized the shifting concerns. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

An Outside-Inside Evolution in Gender and Professional Work

How do organizations adapt to social transformation? In the US, one of the most visible changes in employment since the 1980s—the growing representation of highly educated women—has challenged widely held understandings about gender and professional work. Although much is known about social institutions and social issues at the institutional and organizational levels, researchers still know very little about how individual organizations experience and internalize gradual shifts in deeply held social understandings. To bridge the gap, this study analyzes nearly 20 years of data to explore the adaptation of one professional service firm to an increase in women in the professional workforce and the shifting discourse around gender and work. Findings show that the firm internalized shifts in the social institution of gender through iterated cycles of analysis and action, integrating external pressures from the changing social institution of gender into its beliefs, structure, policies, programs, and practices. Overall, the study reveals how the interplay between activities and beliefs directs the pace and course of organizational change over time. Read More

Negotiation Processes As Sources of (And Solutions To) Interorganizational Conflict

Negotiations are often conceptualized as a means of managing or resolving conflict. Yet just as the process of negotiation may be a solution to conflict in some cases, it may be a source of conflict in others. This paper examines how contextual features within organizations affect negotiation processes and outcomes, and how these processes in turn become a source of or solution to interorganizational conflict. The authors argue that principals, agents, and teams face different sets of constraints and opportunities in negotiations. It is thus important to understand the link between unfolding interactions (the subject of considerable negotiation process research) and more macro features of organizations, such as formalization of roles, culture, or party representation. Read More

Communicating Frames in Negotiations

Economists examining bargaining behavior and outcomes often disregard the complex role of communication, restrict interaction to offers and counteroffers, or study the mere presence of communication while ignoring or constraining its content. This paper asks: How and why does talk sometimes make bargaining more cooperative and other times make bargaining more competitive? The answer may depend on examining what is being communicated about the underlying purpose of the interaction. Kathleen L. McGinn and Markus Noth argue that the content of communication frames the bargaining situation and thus can help predict bargaining behavior and final agreements. Read More

Looking Up and Looking Out: Career Mobility Effects of Demographic Similarity among Professionals

While women and racial minorities have increasingly crossed the threshold into professional service organizations, the path to the top remains elusive. Why do inequalities persist? McGinn and Milkman study processes of cohesion, competition, and comparison by looking at career mobility in a single up-or-out professional service organization. Findings show that higher proportions of same-sex and same-race superiors enhanced the career mobility of junior professionals. On the flip side, however, higher proportions of same-sex or same-race peers increased the likelihood of women's and men's exit and generally decreased their chances of promotion. This research highlights how important it is to look at both cooperative and competitive effects of demographic similarity when trying to address the problem of persistent underrepresentation of women and minorities at the highest levels in organizations. Read More

Gender and Competition: What Companies Need to Know

Do women shy away from competition and thus hurt their careers? New research by Harvard's Kathleen L. McGinn, Iris Bohnet, and Pinar Fletcher suggests the answer is not black and white, and that employers need to understand the "genderness" of their work. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Will I Stay or Will I Go? How Gender and Race Affect Turnover at ‘Up-or-Out’ Organizations

Gender and racial inequalities continue to persist at "up-or-out" knowledge organizations, making it difficult for women and minorities to advance to senior levels, professor Kathleen McGinn says. Read More

Will I Stay or Will I Go? Cooperative and Competitive Effects of Workgroup Sex and Race Composition on Turnover

Inequalities in the senior ranks by sex and race remain rampant in up-or-out knowledge organizations such as consulting firms, law firms, and universities. HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and Wharton School professor Katherine L. Milkman focus on patterns of voluntary and involuntary turnover over six years in one such organization to untangle the multiple ways in which social identity influences career mobility. Predicting that higher proportions of demographically similar supervisors will reduce the likelihood of subordinate turnover, while higher proportions of demographically similar peers will increase the likelihood of turnover, the researchers find evidence of the hypothesized effects. They suggest that integrating research about social cohesion and social comparison enhances understanding of racial and gender inequality within organizations and facilitates organizations' ability to reduce that inequality. Read More

Walking the Talk in Multiparty Bargaining: An Experimental Investigation

Talk can unite, but it can also divide. In multiparty bargaining, communication can focus parties on a fair distribution of resources, but it can also focus parties on a competitive distribution of resources. As HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and coauthors Katherine L. Milkman and Markus Nöth show through experiments, at the onset of interaction the dominant logic in discussions—be it fairness or competition—strongly influences the equality of payoffs even in complex, full-information multiparty bargaining. Increases in the relative frequency of talk about fairness are associated with payoffs closer to an equal split. Talk about competitive reasoning has the opposite effect, driving payoffs away from an equal division, though these effects are less consistent than fairness talk effects. The researchers' results add critical insights to our understanding of the role of communication in multiparty bargaining. Read More

Phenomenological Assumptions and Knowledge Dissemination within Organizational Studies

Field-wide integration of knowledge generated by subfield specialists is critical for new discoveries and for a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of complex phenomena. In spite of the value of broadly disseminating knowledge within the social and physical sciences, scholarly discourse tends to be contained within subfields of research. Further constraining innovation and understanding, knowledge dissemination between academics and practitioners or clinicians is often limited and inaccurate. In this article, UCLA professor Corinne Bendersky and HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn introduce "phenomenological assumptions"—revealed beliefs about the fundamental qualities of the phenomenon under investigation and its relationship to the environment in which it occurs—as barriers limiting the integration of knowledge generated within a subfield into the broader intellectual discourse of its field. Read More

Beyond Gender and Negotiation to Gendered Negotiations

How does gender affect negotiations within organizations or rather how do organizations affect gender relations? Deborah Kolb, a professor at Simmons College School of Management, and HBS professor Kathleen McGinn explore how definitions of work, specified roles in organizations, status hierarchies, and the politics and practices of organizational realities affect how gender plays out in organizations. Considering gender in organizations from a "negotiated order perspective"—that is, from the perspective that cultural patterns and work practices are the result of past interaction and negotiation—not only expands the range of issues that are potentially negotiable, it also turns attention to rethinking certain dimensions of the negotiation process itself. Read More

Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game

The traditional division of labor between the sexes—women managing the private realm and men the public—continues to have an indirect influence on job negotiation outcomes through links between private realm and public realm negotiations. Women's negotiations at work are often constrained by agreements in negotiations at home. There still remains a significant "unexplained" difference in male and female compensation that, according to research in the past several years, cannot be accounted for by gender differences in work commitment, education, and experience, or other considerations such as unionization. The literature on gender in negotiation may offer insights with regard to how negotiation contributes to or could help diminish gender differences in compensation. Bowles and McGinn review two bodies of literature on gender in negotiation—one from psychology and organizational behavior on candidate-employer negotiations, and another from economics and sociology on household bargaining over chores and child care. Read More

Incompatible Assumptions: Barriers to Producing Multidisciplinary Knowledge in Communities of Scholarship

Just as flows of knowledge within and across communities of practice improve the quality of new products, knowledge sharing among knowledge workers within interdisciplinary communities may be critical for new discoveries and for a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of phenomena. In spite of this, biologists tend to talk to biologists, economists tend to talk to economists, and lawyers tend to talk to lawyers. This paper argues that producing and disseminating knowledge within a multidisciplinary community of practice is enhanced when knowledge workers hold compatible assumptions, even when the form and content of knowledge generation across those workers varies. Read More

When Gender Changes the Negotiation

Gender is not a good predictor of negotiation performance, but ambiguous situations can trigger different behaviors by men and women. Here is how to neutralize the differences and reduce inequities. From Negotiation. Read More

What Perceived Power Brings to Negotiations

What role does "perceived power" play in negotiations? For one thing, it may help all the parties take away a win at the table. Professor Kathleen McGinn discusses new research done with Princeton’s Rebecca Wolf. Read More

Negotiation and All That Jazz

Negotiation is improvisational—demanding quick, informed responses and decisions. Professor Kathleen L. McGinn lays out the score in this article from Negotiation. Read More

Negotiating Challenges for Women Leaders

When negotiating compensation, women often sell themselves short. Some practical advice on claiming the power to lead in this interview with HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and Harvard's Hannah Riley Bowles. Read More

The Emerging Art of Negotiation

A negotiation is rarely open-and-shut, but research is starting to reveal a number of ways that this complicated and often-volatile process might go a lot better for all concerned. HBS Professor Kathleen L. Valley, HBS Senior Research Fellow Max H. Bazerman and two colleagues point the way toward a new understanding of the psychology of negotiation. Read More