Management and human resources professor Patty Dahm and two colleagues have earned this year’s Scholarly Achievement Award from The Academy of Management for their paper “Why and when does the gender gap reverse? Diversity goals and the pay premium for high potential women.”
Their research concerns the conditions under which the gender pay gap flips, where women begin to earn more than men. The fact that women generally earn less has been extensively documented across industries. However, high-potential women – those defined by Dahm as having the abilities to scale the organizational hierarchy – earn more than high-potential men.
Dahm and her colleagues contribute this flip to organizational diversity goals. In short, they say, high-potential women are perceived as more valuable to achieving diversity goals and are compensated accordingly. They discovered that the stronger an organization’s diversity initiatives, the more visible the female pay premium.
The paper adds a new and compelling dimension to the gender pay gap conversation. “Our research points out that there are many inequities in the workforce, some of them unexpected,” Dahm says. “Organizations and managers like to think they are not biased, but we all have unconscious biases that affect our decisions.”
It reveals complexity and nuance within gender pay differences, and it analyzes the results of organization-wide diversity initiatives. This real-world significance and advancement of theory is what caught the eye of the AoM Human Resources Division.
The Academy of Management, a professional association that publishes cutting-edge research in top-tier academic journals, presents one Scholarly Achievement Award within its HR Division each year. It goes to the most significant human resources management article published in recognized journals available to its members.
For Patty Dahm, these findings are another step forward in her research on gender differences in career success. She partnered with Lisa M. Leslie from New York University and Colleen Flaherty Manchester from the University of Minnesota on the paper.
As she moves forward, Dahm hopes this research prompts organizations to develop “ways of systematically checking for bias in their pay and career rewards.” And she’s excited to continue her ongoing research with fellow Cal Poly management professor Taryn Stanko examining gender differences in negotiation outcomes.
To learn more about the Academy of Management, visit their website.
You can read the award-winning paper here.