Do Employees Work Less for Female Leaders? A Multi-method Study of Entrepreneurial Firms

Olenka Kacperczyk*, Peter Younkin, Vera Rocha

*Corresponding author for this work

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We propose that female-founded ventures receive a lower amount of employee labor for equal pay because employees are more likely to decline requests for additional labor by female founders. First, using longitudinal matched employer-employee data covering all founders of new ventures with personnel in Portugal between 2002 and 2012, we confirm that full-time employees contribute fewer regular hours and less overtime work to female-founded firms. Second, using a series of online experiments, we show that this variation in employee labor across female and male-founded firms is partly motivated by a difference in the employee’s expectations of work demands. Specifically, employees perceive female founders’ requests for additional labor to be unfair and more difficult than expected, and both these perceptions explain the lower amount of employee labor supplied in female-founded ventures. Overall, our findings uncover a novel mechanism that helps explain the existence of a gender gap in entrepreneurship beyond the entry stage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number3 (May-June)
Pages (from-to)1111-1133
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 11 Jul 2022.


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Gender
  • Leadership
  • Staffing and HR

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