Mary E. Graham, Ph.D., Syracuse University;
Bhavneet Walia, Ph.D., Syracuse University;
Chris Robinson, J.D., Tulane University
The risk of off-the-job misconduct by high-profile employees is a constant concern of top management in professional sport organizations, media and entertainment companies, and public-facing entities in the government and education sectors. Yet there is little research on how to prevent or mitigate this type of misconduct in organizations. Utilizing upper echelons theory and the literature on demographic composition, we examine the relationship between the gender composition of executives of team organizations in a men’s professional sport league, and subsequent misconduct by players on those teams. Specifically, we employed multilevel and logistic regression analyses to unique data on U.S. National Football League team organizations, and we found that firms with a critical mass of women executives experienced fewer player arrests, and that this effect appears to be related to the tenure of the women executives. We discuss the implications of our findings for the demographic composition literature. We also offer suggestions for preventing and managing off-the-job misconduct by high-profile employees.