Firm performance and contribution of female training




female managers, managerial training, firm performance, TFP, gender diversity, senior managers


Framing of the research. The present research contributes to the field of studying effect of gender diversity and management training on firm performance.

Purpose of the paper. The present study investigates the impact of training of senior managers on firm efficiency. In doing so, our focus is on understanding whether female involvement in training improves this relationship.

Methodology. This empirical study is based on archival data of training activities undertaken by 6,403 Italian firms out of 123,117 firms enrolled in Fondirigenti from 2000 to 2018. We implement a multi-stage methodology for econometric estimation. First, total factor productivity is estimated for all firms in the sample. Next, training and female involvement are assessed following the Heckman selection model (Heckman, 1976.

Results. We find a positive effect of senior management training on firm productivity. This effect is enlarged if female managers are involved in training activities. Participation in training activities helps women unleash their potential and provide additional benefits to the firm.

Research limitations. Due to data availability, it was not possible to distinguish between general and firm-specific training.

Managerial implications. Our results indicate that carefully crafted training activities help female managers to unleash their potential and fully contribute to the performance of their firms, as upper echelons theory predicts. Firms should promote more female leaders and provide them with training opportunities to increase their contribution.

Originality of the paper. Most of the existing evidence on the effect of the female presence in leadership positions relates to a very narrow context of top management and board of directors of large publicly traded companies. The present investigation addresses a novel context of senior managers that undergo management training in a sample of Italian firms that adhere to Fondirigenti. The sample includes small, medium, and large firms


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