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Faculty Spotlight: Patricia Gabaldon Quiñones

Faculty Spotlight: Patricia Gabaldon Quiñones | IE Business School

Meet one of IE Business School’s top researchers.

Regularly voted one of IE Business School’s most popular professors, Economics Professor Patricia Gabaldon is also one of IE’s most influential researchers. In the past few years, she has published in Harvard Business Review and the Journal of Business Ethics, among many others. Her research topics combine sociology and economics to understand gender issues and corporate decision-making. Recent articles have focused on corporate sustainability, responsible leadership and diversity’s effects on leadership.

Here’s a closer look at one of IE Business School’s top researchers:

Faculty Spotlight: Patricia Gabaldon Quiñones | IE Business School

What brought you to IE?

After finishing my PhD in economics, I started collaborating with Laura Nuñez, a Finance professor, in a research project. That was in 2005. That was just the beginning, since then I have had several positions at IE, from Director of the Research Office to Professor of Economics, and Vice Dean of Pedagogical Innovation at the School of Global and Public Affairs. It has been 15 years already and I still feel like that young researcher.


Have you ever had an a-ha moment while teaching that furthered your research? What was it?

I teach economics, and most of my teaching has been at the Business School. One of my research areas moves around the role of women in corporate boards, and the dynamics in those strategic groups. While researching on these dynamics and why women do not participate efficiently in board meetings, I realized that most of women students participated much less and started their class interventions with a “I might be wrong…”. At that moment, I realized how much power dynamics can be influenced the moment these students would change their approach in the discussion. I have kept researching on it, and it is one of my passions to empower these women in class.


What book do you wish your students would read before taking your class and why?

WhyNations Fail, by James A. Robinson and Daron Acemoglu is one of my favorite books for students. They are able to explain in plain words a very complex analysis of development economics. In the field of empowerment, I cannot not mention Creating Capabilities, by Martha Nussbaum. An amazing book on how human values about dignity and self-respect are essential to creating the bases of human development.


Leadership. Sustainability. Gender issues. Please name one of the articles you feel addresses the most important issues in 2020 for IE alumni?

Together with Ruth Mateos de Cabo, Ricardo Gimeno and Pilar Grau, I recently published a paper on the importance of networks for women directors. It is titled Shades of power: Network links with gender quotas and corporate governance codes, and was published in The British Journal of Management. In this paper, we show the importance of quotas for women on boards, finding how these affirmative actions break the status quo of men in those powerful networks, giving women the possibility to be more central and more powerful. We can look at the presence of women in leadership positions from the business case, in the sense that gender diversity can bring better firm outcomes. But we can also look at it from the justice perspective– women also deserve to be in those positions. Breaking the so-called ceilings for a more democratic and equal representation of men and women among leadership positions, is also good governance and indeed, promotes sustainability in its broadest sense.


Whose research of your IE colleagues do you find interesting? Why?

I find the work by Pedro Gete on the real state sector fascinating, as well as, Marc Goergen and the impact of women on financial issues and corporate governance. Daniel Fernandez-Kranz has also great analysis on the labor market and households’ decisions. I cannot stop myself from loving finance and economic research!


Tell us one personal thing about yourself that none of your students know.

I have been playing Improv theater for more than a decade. Just the vertigo of getting on the stage without a script, makes the experience so challenging and enjoyable!