Inspiring leaders: An empirical study of female supervisors at work

Friday 28 April 2023, 10:30 am
C.A. van Mensvoort MSc
prof. dr. G.L.M. Kraaykamp
dr. R. Meuleman

The growing presence of women in supervisory positions has raised the question on the implications of female supervisors at work. Who are the female supervisors, and do they bring something different to the workplace for their employees? In general, women and men do not have similar experiences at the labour market: for example, women have lower chances for a high salary and demanding upward careers, and often combine their job with (relatively) more care tasks at home. Now that more women have obtained (formal) influence via their supervisory position, this dissertation focuses on female supervisors’ work opinions and work influences for their employees. 

This dissertation shows that female supervisors can facilitate change at the workplace. Female supervisors are more supportive of women in top business leadership roles than male supervisors, and they also endorse less overly demanding work for their employees and for themselves. This can benefit the opportunities of working women especially. Furthermore, employees are equally satisfied with the social competencies of their female and male supervisors. This highlights an important positive message that women’s progression into supervisory positions can have favourable implications for creating sustainable, healthy and supportive workplaces.