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Development of a sustainable gender diversity strategy to increase the number of female senior leaders at Royal Philips

  • Even though women and men have entered the managerial ranks of organizations to the almost same numbers, women still remain drastically underrepresented. Of the Fortune 500 CEO positions only 5.2% and about 21.2% (Catalyst 2018) of the board seats are held by female leaders. For women of color the numbers are shockingly low. These women are almost absent on most Fortune 500 companies and only hold 3.1% of board seats in this category (Catalyst 2015). In Europe however, the percentage of female director at STOXX 600 companies has increased constantly over the past years and therefore resulted in slightly better numbers. By 2015 almost 25% of directors were female and the average percentage of female holding board seats made 2.8% (EWoB 2015). Research of Carter, N.M. and Silva, C. (2010) shows, that even if women are graduating from global leading business schools their career progress lags in comparison to their male counterparts. This means that despite the organizations efforts of implementing gender discrimination policies and focusing on gender equality, they have not been able to fuel women´s career development (Ely et al. 2011). But why do organizations still struggle to increase the number of female leaders today? This report will elaborate possible factors that are causing failing attempts of organizations in general to then conclude a strategic solution for Philips to successfully change their people strategy towards gender equality. Research shifted from the assumption of intentional gender discrimination within companies towards invisible barriers that cause thriving women not to reach the top (Ely et al. 2011). Those barriers are deeply rooted assumptions about gender that have a long history in the evolution of our society. Starting with how society is influencing how people think about women being leaders and the assumptions they make about the ability one being a leader based on gender (Anderson et al. 2006; Eagly, Carli 2003). The key to success might be a shift in people´s mindset. Here fore, this report will introduce the reader to the problematic of the unconscious bias (Cheryl Staats 2014). Speaking of invisible barriers this theory might be the most important factor for organizations to make a difference. However, the question of why so many women get stuck in the c-suite remains unanswered. One answer to this question repeatedly pops up in research reports and papers which is “Glass Ceiling” (Susan Chira 2017). Because gender equality becomes more and more important for organizations in order to stay competitive, Philips decided to shift its people strategy towards “Inclusion & Diversity” in 2017 (Jong, de 2017). The reason for this shift also lies within the innovative aspect. Diversity fosters creativity and therefor innovation which is a differentiator for Philips. However, this report tries to answer the question on how Philips can actually increase the number of senior female leaders. It will identify possible barriers that need to be removed in order to support the development of female employees to the top ranks of management. The structure or this report is as followed. Chapter 1 will introduce the reader to the research structure to set expectations and give an overview about how the content has been created. Chapter 2 will introduce Philips as an organization after the split of Philips Lighting in 2012. Showing how the function of Human Resource Management is structured and what parts of it are directly influenced by the set KPI. To give an overview on the literature that has been conducted and therefore methodology, chapter 3 will offer explanation on basic concepts that have a direct impact on women in leadership. Here the report will start to focus on gender diversity and two major obstacles women have to overcome in today’s workplace in order to be successful. Chapter 4 will provide a deep dive into the internal talent management processes of Philips and identify possible improvement areas. Chapter 5 will then analyze common concepts on how to support the development senior female leaders and show opportunities as well as limitations for Philips. Moreover it will be discussed how to best merge external concepts with internal processes in order to build a framework for the organization and its workforce. Finally, the importance of engaging men into the discussion of gender diversity will be underlined. Analyzing possible barriers men experience to determine what prevented them in the past to join the gender discussion. Possible solutions will be identified on how to remove those barriers. Chapter 6 will summarize the findings of this report. It will be discussed how the new approach can be realized for Philips as an organization.

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Author:Amelie Ettwein
Advisor:Markus Hoch
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2018
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Date of final exam:2018/03/10
Release Date:2018/03/14
Tag:Diversity; Inclusion
Page Number:107
Degree Program:IBW - Internationale Betriebswirtschaft
Functional area:Human Resource Management
Open-Access-Status: Closed Access 
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt