Operations, Information and Decisions Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

7-2013

Publication Source

Organization Science

Volume

24

Issue

4

Start Page

1041

Last Page

1060

DOI

10.1287/orsc.1120.0778

Abstract

We investigate the role of workgroup gender and race composition on the career mobility of professionals in “up-or-out” organizations. We develop a nuanced perspective on the potential career mobility effects of workgroup demography by integrating the social identification processes of cohesion, competition, and comparison. Using five years of personnel data from a large law firm, we examine the influence of demographic match with workgroup superiors and workgroup peers on attorneys’ likelihood of turnover and promotion. Survival analyses reveal that higher proportions of same-sex superiors enhance junior professionals’ career mobility. On the flip side, we observe mobility costs accruing to professionals in workgroups with higher proportions of same-sex and same-race peers. Qualitative data offer insights into the social identification processes underlying demographic similarity effects on turnover and promotion in professional service organizations.

Keywords

race, gender, competition, social comparison, social cohesion, social identity, demography

 

Date Posted: 27 November 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.