Management system certification signals that the organization meets international standards, which provides a certain confidence in the company. This confidence is in particular needed for exporting companies in developing countries. Because the business world is dominated by men, female leadership might be another reason to have less confidence in a company. Women-led companies may therefore benefit more from certification. Therefore, this study empirically tests the impact of certification on export, and the moderating effect of female leadership. We use data from enterprise surveys conducted by the World Bank in 2013 that include 4111 firms from 25 Central and Eastern European countries in transition. We implement a recursive bivariate probit model and an extensive sensitivity analysis to account for endogeneity issues. Results confirm that certification and export are positively correlated. Firms managed by females benefit more from certification based on international standards than firms managed by men, especially in the service sector. This suggests that certification compensates for the possibly negative connotations of female leadership. Female managers may consider implementing a management system and get it certified, resulting in a competitive advantage in export markets. Our findings provide food for thought for purchase managers–are they free from prejudice?.
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Authors appreciate the feedbacks of the participants at the EURAS 2016 Annual Standardisation Conference in Montpellier, France, 29 June – 1 July 2016 and at the EURAS 2021 (virtual) Annual Standardisation Conference 6–9 September 2021, Aachen, Germany. Authors would also like to thank anonymous referees and editors for their careful and constructive reviews. Cesare A.F. Riillo gratefully acknowledges the support of the Observatoire de la Compétitivité, Ministère de l’Economie, DG Compétitivité, Luxembourg, and STATEC, the National Statistical Institute of Luxembourg. Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of STATEC or STATEC Research and funding partners.
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