Ithaca, NY--November 16, 2009--Although women have made strides in the business world, they still occupy less than two percent of CEO leadership positions in the Fortune 500. Not surprisingly therefore leaders still tend to be thought of as men and most industries are considered to be male-typed at management levels. However, as more women move into management positions within a handful of industries, these industries are becoming more gender-neutral and stereotypes of leaders as men may be changing. A study published in an upcoming issue of the Psychology of Women Quarterly examines these issues, investigating how men and women leaders and their teams are evaluated differently depending on the gender-typing of the industry in which they work.
The results show that people have higher expectations for the performance of teams when their leaders' gender is consistent with the gender typing of the industry in which the team is working. Interestingly, expectations for the performance of the leaders themselves were not impacted by their consistency with industry gender typing. Researcher Susan F. Cabrera notes, "This research demonstrates the power of stereotypes concerning what kinds of people should lead organizations in what kinds of industries. In addition, it suggests that, as more women move into certain sectors of our economy, stereotypes may be evolving in ways that create a more level playing field for women who aspire to leadership positions."
The study shows that as more women assume leadership roles in the workforce, the management stereotype will in turn evolve, resulting in changes in the relative expectations for performance by men and women in management positions. The notion that male leaders will outperform women leaders is no longer applicable in all situations since this is largely linked to the current gender typing environment at a given firm.
This study is published in the December 2009 issue of the Psychology of Women Quarterly. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact email@example.com.
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Susan F. Cabrera earned her Ph.D. from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University with a focus on female executive advancement. She currently lectures at the school on management and organizations and has presented to several corporate firms and conferences on gender-related business practices. She can be reached for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org..
About the Journal: Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ) is a feminist journal that publishes primarily qualitative and quantitative research with substantive and theoretical merit, along with critical reviews, theoretical articles, and invited book reviews related to the psychology of women and gender. Topics include career choice and training; management and performance variables; education; lifespan role development and change; physical and mental health and well-being; physical, sexual, and psychological abuse; violence and harassment; prejudice and discrimination; psychobiological factors; sex-related comparisons; sexuality, sexual orientation, and heterosexism; social and cognitive processes; and therapeutic processes. Topics related to ethnic minority and cross-cultural issues are encouraged. These suggestions are not exhaustive, but are intended to guide the investigator when considering appropriateness of an article for the journal. Literary analyses do not fall within the purview of the journal.
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