Top Management Team Diversity, Equality and Innovation in the Health Care Industry

[We’re pleased to welcome A. Erin Bass of the University of Nebraska Omaha. She recently published an article in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Top Management Team Diversity, Equality, and Innovation: A Multilevel Investigation of the Health Care Industry,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, she writes about her research.]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

I was motivated to pursue this research because I have always been interested in inequality issues, and equality is important in every aspect of organizations–from hiring to promotions to compensation. In this article, I examine equality issues in healthcare–an industry in which this issue is becoming more and more of a headline. When I speak to my female colleagues in healthcare, they all agree that equality issues are something they deal with on a daily basis. I wanted to see if equality matters for a key organizational outcome–innovation. The article indicates important relationships between female representation and compensation and innovation. I hope this angle can be used to encourage more equality in healthcare.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

I was unaware of what a great presence female medical professionals have on social media and beyond! For example, my colleague, Dr. Sasha Shillcutt, is not only an anesthesiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, she is also an entrepreneur, creating a huge online community, https://www.becomebraveenough.com/, to support equality issues for females in healthcare. In speaking to her and others, I realized this is a huge issue and one that I wanted to contribute to. By linking equality to an important organizational outcome, innovation, I demonstrate how equality is not just a feel-good motive–it has important organizational implications as well!

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

I hope this research will make healthcare organizations realize the value of equality in top management teams, and how having females represented and equally compensated will actually drive innovation for the organization. In an era with rapid innovation and hyper-competition, what organization wouldn’t want to promote equality to help drive new technologies and solutions?!?

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