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Lack of Diversity in Leadership: Could Selective Randomness Break the Deadlock?

Goodall, A. H. & Osterloh, M. (2017). Lack of Diversity in Leadership: Could Selective Randomness Break the Deadlock?. .


The proportion of women and ethnic minorities in senior management remains indefensibly low. Radical ideas are therefore needed. This paper proposes one. It is to use a form of selective randomness -- random selection from among a pool of pre-chosen and qualified candidates -- as a new HRM tool. We argue this in two parts – an equity case and an efficiency case. First, selective randomness would ensure greater equity between the sexes and races over time; offer ‘rejection insurance’ to candidates wary of discrimination, and thereby mitigate the fear of failure; and encourage women and non-whites to enter tournaments. Second, we consider also the criterion of efficiency. The standard of candidates going into management would be raised; homophily would be reduced, thus improving diversity of people and ideas, and reducing the ‘chosen one’ factor. By using Jensen’s inequality from applied mathematics, we provide the first demonstration that random selection could act to improve organizational efficiency by raising the chance of an extraordinary manager being hired.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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