Higher Education

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 37–58 | Cite as

Building gender inclusivity: disentangling the influence of classroom demography on classroom participation

  • Tina R. OpieEmail author
  • Beth Livingston
  • Danna N. Greenberg
  • Wendy M. Murphy


Despite increased attention on women in business, concerns abound regarding the extent to which business schools are creating inclusive learning environments that support the leadership development of both male and female students. Using an organizational demography lens, we investigate the interactive effects of student gender, faculty gender, and classroom demography on class participation. We focus on class participation as it is essential to students’ overall learning and development especially concerning leadership. Our findings demonstrate that student and faculty demography interacts with context in unexpected ways to affect participation. Specifically, when women students are in the minority and have a female professor, they receive higher participation grades, particularly as class size decreases. The findings from this study have important implications for business school faculty and administrators as they work to build more inclusive learning environments which support all students’ development as leaders.


Gender Faculty Participation Demography Diversity Inclusion Classroom 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management DivisionBabson CollegeBabson ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of Iowa Management and OrganizationsIowa CityUSA

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