Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Behavioral Norms

LGBTQ_Symbols[Dr. Marina Gorsuch, Professor of St. Catherine University, recently wrote an article in the ILR Review entitled “Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Behavioral Norms in the Labor Market.” We are pleased to feature it and it will be free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Gorsuch discusses how she became inspired to conduct this type of research and provides advice for future researchers.]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

There are striking, persistent differences in earnings based on sex and sexual orientation. I first started this project after wondering if insight from psychology could help economists understand these earnings differences. In particular, I was intrigued by the research from social psychology testing more subtle forms of prejudice and stereotypes based on sex and sexual orientation. I drew on this interdisciplinary inspiration to develop an innovative laboratory experiment that tested how different types of prejudice and stereotypes impact labor market decisions.

Were there any surprising findings?

In this study, I asked participants to evaluate resumes that were manipulated on sex, perceived LGBT status, and whether the resume used traditionally masculine or feminine adjectives. My first set of results is not surprising – I find that male participants penalized resumes with an LGBT activity, and the LGBT penalty was slightly stronger effect for male resumes.

When testing more subtle forms of prejudice, I found some surprising results. Male participants evaluated non-LGBT women who used feminine adjectives more positively than when they used masculine adjectives. However, the resumes of women with the LGBT activity were immune to this effect. This suggests that perceived-heterosexual women are discouraged from masculine behavior that would be rewarded in the labor market, while perceived-LGBT women are not.

Additionally, the same men who had the strongest reaction to perceived-heterosexual women using masculine adjectives also had the strongest negative reaction to resumes with an LGBT activity. I used two different methods to estimate how many men in the study engaged in this form of discrimination. Both methods show that the majority of male participants were biased. This pattern of findings suggests that male decision makers are biased in ways that harm LGBT men, LGBT women, and heterosexual women in the labor market.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

I am a new scholar myself, so will simply repeat good advice I was given: be persistent. Papers and grants will be rejected – it doesn’t mean the paper or the project is bad. Don’t let a rejected paper sit in a drawer. Submit it somewhere else! Most papers you see published were rejected from multiple other journals.

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Gender Photo attributed to Free-Photos  (CC)

Media Artefacts as Public Pedagogy for Women’s Leadership Development

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Valerie Stead of Lancaster University and Carole Elliott of the University of Roehampton. They recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Pedagogies of power: Media artefacts as public pedagogy for women’s leadership development,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe this research and its significance to the present:]

This research is set within the context of an increased media spotlight on workplace gender equity and the enduring challenge of women’s progression into senior roles. The media holds a powerful global presence and is influential in shaping our values and beliefs about who can, and should be, a leader. In this article we use the example of media Power Lists to draw attention to the educational force of media artefacts. We argue that adopting the conceptual lens of public pedagogy to media artefacts grants leadership developers awareness of the pervasiveness of gendered social and cultural norms; they influence the organisation of the workplace and shapes attitudes towards women in leadership roles. The article is innovative in its theorisation of the pedagogic significance of media artefacts through the public pedagogy lens. This theorisation creates two significant forms of impact for the field. First, it demonstrates how media artefacts such as Power Lists have ‘pedagogical force’. That is, they shape our learning informally so we can use them to interrogate embedded gendered assumptions and asymmetries in power relationships. Second, the article illustrates how the informality of public pedagogies can be mobilised as pedagogical resources in formal learning settings. We do so by developing and applying an analytical framework that can be used on leadership development programmes. Our article is situated within the context of women’s leadership development. However, the analytical framework can be adapted to interrogate other structural inequalities, such as racialised misrepresentations of leadership.

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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)

One Strategy Does Not Fit All: A Look at Impression Management

26912109275_9b53648408_zImpression management describes the act of trying to control the first impression someone might have of an individual. It refers to shaping the perceptions others form about an individual’s behavior, motivation, morality, and other characteristics, like intelligence and future potential. Research on impression management has found significant differences between the impression management strategies used by women as compared to men. In fact, it has been revealed that women in Western context use less impression management strategies than men.

Some of the constructs closely related to impression management are self-monitoring, self-presentation and influence tactics (or impression management behaviors). There are two types of impression management strategies— soft impression management and hard impression management strategies. Hard impression management strategies include direct and aggressive behavior such as assertiveness, sanctions, upward appeal, blocking, self-promotion and intimidation. Soft impression management strategies include indirect and subtle behavior, such as ingratiation, coalition, exemplification and supplication. Combining certain behaviors can change the outcome of an individual’s impression management.Current Issue Cover

In identifying soft and hard impression management, researchers have been able to identify how different individuals from different backgrounds employ impression management. Indians avoid hard impression management strategies, in contrast with Dutch and Americans. Assertive and task-oriented behaviors were perceived as more effective by American and Swiss managers, and less effective by Chinese managers. As a result, it appears that hard impression management strategies are perceived as more effective by low power distance cultures as compared to high power distance cultures.

In addition to having a cultural impact, this comparison of impression management strategies also impacts gender. Indian women displaying authoritarian behaviors face perceptions of lesser effectiveness than their male counterparts. They may use charm, appearance, ingratiation and compliments as impression management strategies, which are soft impression management strategies. Women are perceived as more effective when displaying behaviors which are considered appropriate based on gender stereotypes. This may explain why Indian women tend to choose soft impression management strategies over hard impression management strategies.

This article shows that specific impression management strategies cannot be used with similar results across different contexts. Therefore, individuals need to be aware of the best impression management strategies specific to his or her situation.

The abstract for the article:

This article attempts to understand the impression management strategies used by women in Indian organizations. The extant research on gender differences in impression management, primarily conducted in Western cultures, has been inconclusive. This may be a result of attempting to generalize across cultures and/or the lack of research on moderating variables in the choice of impression management strategies by women. India provides an interesting context with high power distance culture, low social status of women as well as an emerging women’s movement.

Click here to read A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Impression Management Strategies Used by Women in Indian Organizations for free from the South Asian Journal of Human Resources Management.

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*Image attributed to ITU Pictures (CC)

Book Review: Womentrepreneurs: Inspiring Stories of Success

The Hindu Business Line recently published a book review by Aarati Krishnan for the book Womentrepreneurs: Inspiring Stories of Success by author Avinash Kirpal. From the review:

Womentrepreneurs: Inspiring Stories of Success authored by Avinash Kirpal manages to steer clear of these pitfalls and gives a mostly factual account of 10 Indian women entrepreneurs who have succeeded in striking out on their own in diverse fields — from helming an HR consultancy, to running an NGO which helps women widowed byWomentrepreneurs gun violence get back on their feet. The very diversity of the stories chronicled here makes this book an interesting read.  It does justice to its subjects by taking a systematic approach in covering four different aspects of every entrepreneur’s life. The stories are based mainly on personal interviews with the entrepreneurs and are good reads.

This book dutifully poses the work-life balance question to every woman entrepreneur too. The answers mostly revolve around supportive families or partners who ‘didn’t interfere’ in the business. In some cases, the entrepreneur made a choice to remain single because her career choices wouldn’t fit in with ‘family life’. What these responses essentially reveal is that you shouldn’t look for a solution from others on what you can do to attain work-life balance while zealously pursuing a career. It’s largely a matter of being assertive and knowing where your own personal priorities lie.

You can read the full review from Business Line by clicking here. Interested in buying Womentrepreneurs: Inspiring Stories of Success? You can purchase the book by clicking here.

Read the New Issue of Administrative Science Quarterly!

Current Issue CoverThe June 2016 issue of Administrative Science Quarterly is now available online and can be accessed free for the next 30 days. The June issue includes articles covering a range of topics, including an article that explores why cultural omnivores get creative jobs, and an article on task segregation as a mechanism for within-job gender inequality. William Starbuck’s piece, “60th Anniversary Essay: How Journals Could Improve Research Practices in Social Science” opens the new issue by exploring how improvements can be made to editorial policies to make research practices in the social sciences more accurate and reliable. The abstract for the paper:

This essay proposes ways to improve editorial evaluations of manuscripts and to make published research more reliable and trustworthy. It points to troublesome properties of current editorial practices and suggests that editorial evaluations could become more reliable by making more allowance for reviewers’ human limitations. The essay also identifies some troublesome properties of prevalent methodology, such as statistical significance tests, HARKing, and p-Hacking, and proposes editorial policies to mitigate these detrimental behaviors.

Click here to access the table of contents for the June 2016 issue of Administrative Science Quarterly. Want to know about all the latest from Administrative Science Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!