Equal, but different?

Julia Brandl (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria)
Wolfgang Mayrhofer (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria)
Astrid Reichel (Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Vienna, Austria)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the status and functional responsibilities of female human resource (HR) directors vary cross‐nationally and how gender egalitarian cultural values affect role differences between female and male HR directors.


A cross‐country comparison of HR directors involving 22 countries based on the 2004 Cranet survey.


Consistent with the hypotheses, gender egalitarian values reduce sex‐role differences for strategic integration and for traditionally female‐stereotyped HR functions. However, there is no support for the notion that egalitarian values influence sex differences for male‐stereotyped HR functions. Since, the data indicate higher levels of involvement of female HR directors in male‐stereotyped HR functions in 12 out of 22 countries, unequal distribution of functional responsibility is interpreted as an indicator for sex differences in administrative workload.


Macro cultural factors matter for sex‐role differences in strategic integration and functional responsibilities of HR directors. The effects of gender egalitarian values have greater impact on reducing vertical differences than horizontal differences.



Brandl, J., Mayrhofer, W. and Reichel, A. (2008), "Equal, but different?", Gender in Management, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 67-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542410810849132

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