Abbie Oliver’s work was recently highlighted in the Wall Street Journal article, “Are Activist Investors Sexist?” Abbie was consulted for the article due to her on-going research with Christine Shropshire from Arizona State Univeristy. In their study “Walking on broken glass: Gender effects in early-stage CEO evaluations and shareholder activism” they investigate if activist investors, target female CEOs in different ways, when targeting a firm criticism. Using a matched sample of S&P 1500 CEO, they demonstrate that female CEOs have a disproportionately higher propensity to face activism in their first year on the job, with a substantial and significant gender effect making women 28% more likely than their male counterparts to be targeted. They conclude that female CEOs are far more likely to be pressured and second-guessed by shareholders than men occupying the same leadership position.
Abbie’s recent work on female CEOs and shareholder activism aligns with her prior work at the intersection of diversity and corporate governance. Her recent article “BS in the Boardroom: Benevolent Sexism and Board Chair Orientations” in the Strategic Management Journal investigates how gender stereotypes influence outcomes for female CEOs in the boardroom. While much is known about the barriers preventing female executives from becoming CEOs and the negative market reactions to their appointments, less is known about the circumstances female CEOs face once they assume this leadership role. The article investigates boards’ perceptions of CEO gender and how this influence the board-CEO relationship. Drawing on the gender stereotype literature, agency theory, and stewardship theory, she theorizes and finds that board chairs are 50% more likely to collaborate with female CEOs due to their communal nature than with male CEOs due to their agentic nature.
Broadly, Abbie’s research explores the microfoundations of strategic management. Specifically, she is interested in stakeholder management, corporate governance, and social evaluations. She focuses on the socio-cognitive mechanisms that shape strategic decision making and external perceptions of firms, and is most interested in how diversity influences these relationships in the upper echelons. Her work fits within a nexus of strategic management, organization theory, and social psychology.