Angling for a raise at work? Then hope your boss has daughters.
A recent study, published in Administrative Science Quarterly, looked at how fatherhood affects management style, and, specifically, how a male CEO’s children affect how he pays his employees. Let's hear it for the baby girls: When a male boss has a daughter, you just might see a bump on your next pay stub.
We spoke with one of the study’s co-authors, David Gaddis Ross, an associate professor at Columbia Business School, about the research that looked at data from Danish firms and what women can take away from the information. An edited version of the interview follows.
MORE: What got you interested in researching management style and fatherhood?
David Ross: I think individual managers can make a lot of difference; personalities matter. But we don’t have a lot of systematic evidence of why certain managers manage in certain ways. This study is an initial attempt to start filling in that big gap. I have two children myself, and I certainly think that has had an influence on me. When you’re a parent, whether a father or a mother, it affects you, and I think it affects you whether you have boys or girls.
MORE: Your research found that when a boss has his first kid, it can mean good news for women.
DR: For the first child of either gender, women employees’ wages actually increase, and for the first daughter, wages of both employees—men and women—increase.
MORE: Do fathers often act differently with their daughters than their sons?
DR: Fathers don’t seem to play with daughters the same way [they do with sons]. They seem to be more nurturing, they seem to be more focused on developing social skills and less on achievement. By having a daughter, especially his first daughter, a male CEO, to some degree, [may go] through some process of socialization that could make him more generous toward his employees.
MORE: Does other research show any impact from having a daughter?
DG: There’s a paper that’s been around for a couple of years that looks at male U.S. congressmen, and finds that if they have daughters of reproductive age, they tend to vote a little bit more favorably on women’s reproductive rights issues. So, you can see a situation where if a CEO has a daughter, he might start to regard his female employees more benignly.
MORE: Do you think being the father of two daughters has changed you personally?
DG: I do. My kids are in middle school, high school at this point, but I do think there are certain ways in which I’m more nurturing and giving and empathetic than I was before raising them.