Date of Award

12-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Taylor, Mary Anne

Committee Member

Britt , Thomas W

Committee Member

Rosopa , Patrick

Abstract

Some of the earliest research on women in the workplace demonstrated that women are not perceived as competent leaders and managers. Several decades have passed since that time, but, on average, American women still earn less than their male counterparts, and women still occupy only 12 Chief Executive Officer positions in Fortune 500 companies, up from 2 in 2007 (Fortune, 2008). Recent research suggests that negative stereotypes about women's managerial competence persist, particularly in regards to their assertiveness and forcefulness, two core managerial characteristics.
Current research on gender differences indicates that females are significantly more concerned with social relationships in the workplace than are their male counterparts. While this would seem to be a positive trait, women are viewed as less competent than men when they show the same level of emotional intelligence and concern regarding social interactions as their male counterparts (Hopkins & Bilimoria, 2008). This effect is relevant to performance appraisal, because female and male managers may draw on such social skills and concerns when providing feedback to subordinates.
The current study explored the effects of 'feminine' or 'masculine' performance feedback on perceptions of the appraiser as well as perceptions of the feedback. Using Role Congruity Theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002), hypotheses predicted that males and females would be rated most favorably when they delivered feedback consistent with their gender roles (e.g., feminine feedback given by a female manager). Results demonstrated males who delivered more masculine feedback were reliably judged to be most agentic, while females who delivered feminine feedback were judged most communal. There was not a significant interaction between writer and message gender on either managerial competence or feedback effectiveness. These results are discussed along with implications for future research.

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