Blurring the Stark Distinction Between Masculine and Feminine Brands

An identity, integral to our understanding of who we are is our gender identity. It is perhaps the first and the most easily recognizable feature of our persona that we. Unlike sex, our gender is not congenitally determined; rather it is constructed, developed, and refined through social and cultural exchanges. The appropriate and discriminatory gender roles ascribed by the society, direct communication, and influence of media coerce us to develop a personal sense of “maleness or femaleness”.

Business Perspectives and ResearchWhatever be the case, once we develop a gender identity we communicate and demonstrate it in a number of ways. A common way is to appropriate consumption practices and props that reflect our gender identity. Marketers’ gender work is instrumental in creating gendered brands. Since gendered brands appeal to the gender of consumers, they are suitable for either men or women, but not for both. As such, gendered brands create distinct gender cultures populated with gender specific brands. However, of late stagnant sales and societal changes have encouraged many marketers to engage in brand gender bending by deconstructing the gender exclusivity of brands. Marketers are continually expanding the gender spectrum of previously gendered brands by bringing women into the male-skewed customer base of male-gendered products and vice versa. The historical divide between masculine and feminine products is blurring and “unisex” is emerging as the new consumption ideology.

An article from Business Perspective and Research attempts to integrate and extend the theory of brand gender bending by convening arguments from different but complimentary social sciences. Based on the review and scientific understanding of the long-standing research, the study underscores the difference in the reactions of men and women to brand gender bending. It also proposes a conceptual framework that highlights the determinants that drive consumer responses to brand gender bending.

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In the postmodern era, many marketers have disturbed the strict gender discipline traditionally associated with gendered brands. Marketers are redoing their gender work by blurring the stark distinction between masculine and feminine brands. New consumption ideologies are developing that transcend the gendered meanings of brands and encourage men and women to infiltrate brands traditionally associated with the opposite gender. “Unisex” is emerging as the byword. This review convenes the phenomenological consumer responses to brand gender bending. It specifically highlights the contrast between the ways in which men and women react to dilution/revision of the gender identity meanings of their brands. This article also underscores the ethnographic, sociological, psychological, and anthropological reasons that justify these reactions.

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A Meta-Analysis of Gender Proportionality Effects on Job Performance

gender-equality-1977912_1920 (1)[We’re pleased to welcome authors Jeremy D. Mackey of Auburn University, Philip L. Roth of Clemson University, Chad H. Van Iddekinge of Florida State University, and Lynn A Mcfarland of the University of South Carolina. They recently published an article in Group & Organization Management entitled “A Meta-Analysis of Gender Proportionality Effects on Job Performance,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they discuss their motivations and findings:]

GOM_72ppiRGB_powerpointPhil Roth, Chad Van Iddekinge, Lynn McFarland, and I began working on our study entitled “A Meta-Analysis of Gender Proportionality Effects on Job Performance” because we wanted to examine whether gender proportionality (i.e., the percentage of females in an organization) affects females’ job performance relative to males’ job performance. Overall, we found weak effects of gender proportionality on job performance. Specifically, we found support for a no token effect perspective rather than a linear or curvilinear token effect perspective. Our findings are important because they challenge the prevailing wisdom of critical mass theory and the tokenism hypothesis. We hope our study stimulates additional research in this important area of inquiry.

The most challenging aspect of conducting our research was its scope. Research that examines gender effects on performance has affected numerous fields, including management, applied psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. Thus, it was a challenge to determine the appropriate scope for our study so our results could be generalizable. Ultimately, we included data from 158 independent studies that included a total of 101,071 respondents.

The most surprising finding from our study was the consistent lack of support for linear or curvilinear effects of gender proportionality on job performance across types of performance (i.e., overall subjective job performance, task performance, OCBs, and objective performance) and features of study designs. Overall, our findings were consistent for respondents from civilian or military organizations, whether single or multiple organizations were included in each sample, regardless of whether respondents had managerial or non-managerial jobs, whether there were traditional stereotypes of men’s work or women’s work for respondents’ jobs, regardless of administrative or research purposes for each study, despite whether each study was published or unpublished, and regardless of the year of publication of each study.

Despite our findings, we encourage future research to examine gender proportionality effects on job performance and other organizational outcomes because it is important to understand the conditions in which gender proportionality affects organizational outcomes and the types of outcomes that are affected by gender proportionality.

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Weighing photo attributed to Tumisu. (CC)

Connecting Shared Structural Barriers with Trends in Crowdfunding

14690052702_05e4d129d7_z-1Crowdfunding has been on the rise in recent years, due in large part to the spread of Internet access and increased global communication, which has allowed activists to tap into donation-based crowdfunding. But not all calls for donations garner enough support, and some groups have shown to be more prone to success than others. In a recent Administrative Science Quarterly article from Jason Greenberg of New York University and Ethan Mollick of University of Pennsylvania, entitled “Activist Choice Homophily and the Crowdfunding of Female Founders,” explores how trends in crowdfunding favor women. The abstract for their paper:

In this paper, we examine when members of underrepresented groups choose to support each other, using the context of the funding of female founders via donation-based crowdfunding. Building on theories of choice homophily, we develop the Current Issue Coverconcept of activist choice homophily, in which the basis of attraction between two individuals is not merely similarity between them, but rather perceptions of shared structural barriers stemming from a common social identity based on group membership. We differentiate activist choice homophily from homophily based on the similarity between individuals (“individual choice homophily”), as well as from “induced homophily,” which reflects the likelihood that those in a particular social category will affiliate and form networks. Using lab experiments and field data, we show that activist choice homophily provides an explanation for why women are more likely to succeed at crowdfunding than men and why women are most successful in industries in which they are least represented.

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Learning to Lead: A Comparison of Women’s and General Leadership Development Programs

6109345368_004befc070_z[We’re pleased to welcome Keimei Sugiyama of Case Western Reserve University. Keimei recently published an article in Journal of Management Education with co-authors Kevin V. Cavanagh, Chantal van Esch, Diana Bilimoria, and Cara Brown entitled “Inclusive Leadership Development: Drawing from Pedagogies of Women’s and General Leadership Development Programs.” From Keimei:]

The importance of leadership development training focused on women has been well understood given the challenges of overcoming gender biases, stereotypes and unwritten rules that affect women in their leadership identity transition.  Yet there have also been shifts in how we think about the important qualities of leaders such that general programs include enhancing competence in self-awareness and emotional and social skills, making the work of leadership not just about meeting business demands but also about meeting the interpersonal needs of an increasingly globalized and diverse workforce.  If this is the case, then does there continue to be a need for women-focused programs or has our very understanding of leadership shifted enough to include women?

In this context, we were inspired to compare general and women’s leadership development programs in order to explore the following questions:

  • Are general and women’s leadership development programs becoming more similar or do they remain distinct in assumptions of what “leadership” is?
  • How do these assumptions affect how relating to others is addressed in developing as a leader?
  • How do these assumptions address the leadership identity transition of understanding both self and others to develop leadership capabilities?

What we found was that although General Leadership Development Programs JME(GLDPs) and Women’s Leadership Development Program (WLDPs) shared similar themes of leadership development, there was a stark contrast in what each type of program emphasized.  GLDPs were more likely to reflect assumptions of a leader as an independent self, separate from others, and manifested in more agentic and transactional leadership approaches.  WLDPs were more likely to reflect assumptions of a leader as a relational self, learning through connecting with others, and approaching the transition to leadership as relational and identity-based.  Given these contrasts and the challenges that continue to face women in the transition to leadership, we concluded that WLDPs do continue to offer significant value in supporting the advancement of women in leadership.

What surprised us in this study is that despite acknowledgement of the global context of the increasingly diverse workforce, both types of programs in their descriptions did not directly highlight how leadership involves being inclusive of multiple diverse identities and intersectionality (e.g., being a woman of color). We suggest that highlighting the importance of inclusive leadership that both values uniqueness and creates belonging for diverse multiple identities is important for any leadership development program.

We also developed a model that integrates pedagogies implicit in both types of programs to suggest a framework for inclusive leadership development. We anticipate that this framework will be helpful in better balancing and promoting more inclusive approaches to leadership in both types of programs. We also hope that this model helps to expand the research on inclusive leadership and informs new pathways for leaders to be developed in ways that value and enhance all their meaningful identities.

The abstract for the paper:

Trends in extant literature suggest that more relational and identity-based leadership approaches are necessary for leadership that can harness the benefits of the diverse and globalized workforces of today and the future. In this study, we compared general leadership development programs (GLDPs) and women’s leadership development programs (WLDPs) to understand to what extent program descriptions addressed inclusive leadership—leadership that draws on relational skills to value both the uniqueness and belonging needs of diverse identities to create business effectiveness for the long term. GLDPs predominantly reflected pedagogical assumptions of separate knowing, development of the autonomous self, and masculine leadership approaches of agentic and transactional leadership. In contrast, pedagogical assumptions of connected knowing, development of the relational self, and relational and identity-based leadership approaches were more prevalent in WLDPs. These findings suggest that WLDPs continue to offer significant value to supporting women leaders in their advancement, yet both WLDPs and GLDPs can do more to be inclusive of additional diverse identities to better develop leaders of the future who can lead with inclusive behaviors. We suggest a pedagogical framework for inclusive leadership development that may better balance and promote synergies between achieving business priorities and relating to others and their diverse identities.

You can read “Inclusive Leadership Development: Drawing from Pedagogies of Women’s and General Leadership Development Programs” from Journal of Management Education free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to be the first to know about the latest research published by Journal of Management EducationClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to aiesecgermany (CC)

What Factors Increase Gender Diversity in Management?

13887676297_d1da829ccb_zManagement structure can have a large impact on the representation of women in management, but which structure is most effective in promoting gender diversity? The answer may surprise you. In the article “The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management,” from ILR Review, authors Mary E. Graham, Maura A. Belliveau, and Julie L. Hotchkiss investigated what correlations could be found between different management structures and gender diversity in management. Surprisingly, they found that having an HR executive on the top management team did not necessarily equate to more women in management. The abstract for the article describes their findings:

Women lag men in their representation in management jobs, which negatively affects women’s careers and company performance. Using data from 81 publicly traded firms with more than 2,000 establishments, the authors examine the impact of two management structures that may influence gender diversity in management Current Issue Coverpositions. The authors find no association between the presence of an HR executive on the top management team—a structure envisioned in practice as enhancing diversity but which could, instead, operate merely symbolically—and the proportion of women in management. By contrast, the authors show a strong, positive association between a previously unexamined measure of commitment to diversity—the hierarchical rank of the individual certifying the company’s required, confidential federal EEO-1 report—and women’s representation in management. These findings counter the common perception that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulations are too weak to affect gender diversity. The authors discuss the implications for diversity scholarship, as well as for management practice and public policy.

You can read the article “The View at the Top or Signing at the Bottom? Workplace Diversity Responsibility and Women’s Representation in Management” published in ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research published by ILR ReviewClick here to sing up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Will Evans (CC)


Happy Labor Day from Management INK!

1118679421_b0d120d892_zIn honor of Labor Day in the United States, we’re pleased to feature a collection of articles from ILR ReviewThe collection includes nine articles related to Labor Economics. One paper, entitled Workforce Reduction at Women-Owned Businesses in the United States,” authors David A. Mats and Amalia R. Miller find an association between female business leadership and increased labor hoarding. The abstract for the paper:

The authors find that privately held firms owned by women were less likely than those owned by men to downsize their workforces during the Great Recession. Year-to-year employment reductions were as much as 29% smaller at women-owned firms, even after controlling for industry, size, and profitability. Using data that allow the authors to control for additional detailed firm and owner characteristics, they also find that women-owned firms operated with greater labor intensity after the previous recession and were less likely to hire temporary or leased workers. These patterns extend previous findings associating female business leadership with increased labor hoarding.

Another paper in the collection, entitled “Revisiting the Current Issue CoverMinimum Wage–Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater,” from authors David Neumark, J.M. Ian Salas, and William Wascher revisit the minimum wage debate with a new approach to the research design. The abstract for the paper:

The authors revisit the long-running minimum wage–employment debate to assess new studies claiming that estimates produced by the panel data approach commonly used in recent minimum wage research are flawed by that approach’s failure to account for spatial heterogeneity. The new studies use research designs intended to control for this heterogeneity and conclude that minimum wages in the United States have not reduced employment. The authors explore the ability of the new research designs to isolate reliable identifying information, and they test the designs’ untested assumptions about the construction of better control groups. Their analysis reveals problems with the new research designs. Moreover, using methods that let the data identify the appropriate control groups, their results reaffirm the evidence of disemployment effects, with teen employment elasticities near −0.15. This evidence, they conclude, still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others.

You can read these two articles and more from the Labor Economics collection from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Happy Labor Day from Management INK!

*Coffee shop image attributed to Dave Bleasdale (CC)


The Stress of Cyber Incivility at Work

5630090047_5922a8afeb_zCyber bullying has been an emerging issue in recent years, and recent news, like the recent suicide of firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, have brought to light just how pervasive and harmful cyber bullying can be in the workplace. A recent article published in Journal of Management, entitled “Daily Cyber Incivility and Distress: The Moderating Roles of Resources at Work and Home” from authors YoungAh Park, Charlotte Fritz, and Steve M. Jex delves into the topic of cyber incivility, pinpointing how cyber incivility can cause lasting distress in employees. The abstract for the paper:

Given that many employees use e-mail for work communication on a daily basis, this study examined within-person relationships between day-level incivility via work e-mail (cyber incivility) and employee outcomes. Using resource-based theories, we Current Issue Coverexamined two resources (i.e., job control, psychological detachment from work) that may alleviate the effects of cyber incivility on distress. Daily survey data collected over 4 consecutive workdays from 96 employees were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling. Results showed that on days when employees experienced cyber incivility, they reported higher affective and physical distress at the end of the workday that, in turn, was associated with higher distress the next morning. Job control attenuated the concurrent relationships between cyber incivility and both types of distress at work, while psychological detachment from work in the evening weakened the lagged relationships between end-of-workday distress and distress the following morning. These findings shed light on cyber incivility as a daily stressor and on the importance of resources in both the work and home domains that can help reduce the incivility-related stress process. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.

You can read “Daily Cyber Incivility and Distress: The Moderating Roles of Resources at Work and Home” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Mislav Marohnic (CC)