CEO Gender, Ethical Leadership, and Accounting Conservatism
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Since male CEOs dominate corporate leadership, the literature on top management decision making suffers from an implicit masculine bias. Although research indicates that males and females are biologically and psychologically different, the leadership characteristics of female CEOs are largely unexplored. Two of these characteristics, risk aversion and ethical sensitivity, are tied to key accounting issues, such as conservatism in financial reporting and steadfast opposition to fraud. In this study, we examine the relationship between CEO gender and accounting conservatism, and find a positive association between the two. Consistent with conventional wisdom, this association appears to be stronger in firms with high rather than low litigation and takeover risks. This study contributes to the ethics literature by highlighting the benefits of gender diversity in upholding the integrity of financial reporting.
KeywordsAccounting conservatism CEO gender Ethical leadership
The authors wish to thank the editor, two anonymous reviewers and session participants at 2013 American Accounting Association Annual Meeting for helpful suggestions. We also gratefully acknowledge the recognition from the Gender Issues and Worklife Balance Section of American Accounting Association for the Best Paper Award. Zhang would like to express appreciation for the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (approval number: 71002058, 71202090, 71202091). All errors are ours.
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