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THE DIVERSITY GAP IN THE PUBLIC–PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP INDUSTRY: AN EXAMINATION OF WOMEN AND VISIBLE MINORITIES IN SENIOR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

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Despite intense focus on leadership diversity in industries such as high technology, business, the media and academia, to date the infrastructure sector has not received the same level of scrutiny. This paper develops a theoretical framework to explain why leadership diversity matters in the management of complex infrastructure projects delivered through publicprivate partnerships, and then empirically identifies the diversity gap in senior leadership in the PPP industry worldwide. The study is based on an examination of over 2,800 public and private sector executives, board members and politicians responsible for PPPs in over 90 countries. The results show that women and racial minorities are significantly underrepresented in senior leadership roles, a pattern that is deeply entrenched and consistent globally. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the findings for the infrastructure industry, and explores how a lack of leadership diversity can influence project management outcomes.
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Keywords: Infrastructure; diversity; gender; public-private partnerships

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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