Metro

  • Written by Martin Abel, Assistant Professor of Economics, Middlebury

Imagine that your boss Ethan calls you into his office. He expresses disappointment in your recent performance and lack of commitment. How would you react? Accept the feedback and put in more effort? Would you pout in your office and start looking for a new job?

Now, would your reaction be different if your boss was not named Ethan but Emily?

I’m a professor of economics[1], and my research[2] investigates this very question. We hired 2,700 workers online to transcribe receipts, randomly assigning a male or female name to a manager and randomly assigning which workers would receive performance feedback.

Results show that both women and men react more negatively to criticism if it comes from a woman. Our subjects reported that criticism by a woman led to a larger reduction in job satisfaction than criticism by a man. Employees were also doubly disinterested in working for the firm in the future if they had been criticized by a female boss.

This has important implications for the success of women in leadership. If using feedback is more likely to backfire for women in positions of power, they may adopt less effective management strategies or become altogether less interested[3] in holding leadership positions.

Women in the workplace

Women make up 45% of employees[4] of S&P 500 firms. Yet, they only make up 37% of managers at the midlevel, 26% at the senior level and 5% of CEOs.

This is true despite women having overtaken men in educational attainment[5]. They have also begun scoring higher on leadership competency tests[6] in recent years.

Existing studies do not find clear evidence of gender discrimination[7] against job applicants for upper management. Due to methodological constraints, such research typically focuses on hiring for entry-level positions[8].

Discrimination in promotion is much harder to study, as work interactions are harder for researchers to observe.

Bosses face more discrimination if they are women – from employees of any gender Women make up nearly half of the workforce, but managers are disproportionately men. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com[9]

Why discrimination?

Women in upper management are not simply being ignored. Workers hired for the transcription in our study actually spent slightly more time reading and thinking about feedback from female managers.

Neither can implicit biases[10] explain why employees are less likely to take criticism well from women. While we found that workers in this study were on average more likely to subconsciously associate men with career and women with family, this tendency does not predict whether they discriminate against female bosses.

Discrimination is also not a lack of exposure to female supervisors. Workers stating that their previous female supervisor was highly effective were just as likely to discriminate.

Instead, what seems to drive the results are gendered expectations of management styles. Other studies[11] have shown that workers are three times more likely to associate giving praise with female managers and twice more likely to associate giving criticism with male managers. People react negatively if something violates their expectations[12].

Case in point: critical female bosses.

It remains unclear to what extent results from this study generalize to more traditional work settings. Yet, the “gig economy” and other remote work arrangements are a rapidly expanding[13] part of the economy.

Some have argued that these jobs offer more flexibility[14] and thus particularly benefit women. However, findings from this study highlight additional concerns about discrimination in the gig economy due to lack of regulatory oversight and equal opportunity protections in these jobs.

What can be done?

Recently, some firms started trying to stem discrimination against women in management positions.

Several have employed “feedback coaches[15],” teaching workers to focus on the content of feedback rather than the identity of the person providing it. There is also evidence that informing people of their biases may affect their behavior[16].

Other research suggests that highlighting specific credentials of women in leadership[17] – such as positive evaluations or reference letters[18] – may be an effective remedy.

To end on a hopeful note: Discrimination against female bosses in my study is lower among younger workers and disappears for those in their 20s. Though younger employees may discriminate more as they age, it could be that this is a generational shift.

[ You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter[19]. ]

References

  1. ^ professor of economics (scholar.google.com)
  2. ^ my research (ftp.iza.org)
  3. ^ less effective management strategies or become altogether less interested (people.tamu.edu)
  4. ^ 45% of employees (www.catalyst.org)
  5. ^ educational attainment (www.bloomberg.com)
  6. ^ scoring higher on leadership competency tests (hbr.org)
  7. ^ do not find clear evidence of gender discrimination (doi.org)
  8. ^ entry-level positions (doi.org)
  9. ^ Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com (www.shutterstock.com)
  10. ^ implicit biases (www.jstor.org)
  11. ^ Other studies (doi.org)
  12. ^ violates their expectations (doi.org)
  13. ^ rapidly expanding (www.mckinsey.com)
  14. ^ these jobs offer more flexibility (scholar.harvard.edu)
  15. ^ feedback coaches (www.coachteam.no)
  16. ^ informing people of their biases may affect their behavior (doi.org)
  17. ^ highlighting specific credentials of women in leadership (economics.sas.upenn.edu)
  18. ^ positive evaluations or reference letters (ideas.repec.org)
  19. ^ You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter (theconversation.com)

Authors: Martin Abel, Assistant Professor of Economics, Middlebury

Read more http://theconversation.com/bosses-face-more-discrimination-if-they-are-women-from-employees-of-any-gender-125292

Metropolitan republishes selected articles from The Conversation USA with permission

Visit The Conversation to see more

Entertainment News

REBECCA “DAWGGONE" DAVIS” Weight of the World

When people hear my song “Weight of the World” for the first time, they always wonder if I somehow knew 2020 would be a year like no other in our history. Was there any conscious thought predictin...

Rebecca Davis - avatar Rebecca Davis

WENDY MOTEN I’ve Got You Covered

WENDY MOTEN may have launched her career as a pop/R&B artist and taken cool detours into jazz along the way, but her heart clearly belongs to NashvilleWendy Moten may have launched her career ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Smooth Jazz Music Legend “Dr. Dave” Releases An Homage To The Tonight Show

Writing and recording smooth jazz albums and performing live over the past 25 years, I’ve learned that people react most powerfully to a song’s rhythms. If you’ve got a great beat that they can mo...

Dr. Dave - avatar Dr. Dave

Singer/Songwriter Darrell Kelley Talks Music and Social Relevance

I feel very blessed that two of my songs, “The Coronavirus” and “Because of You,” are currently in the Top Five on the World Indie Music charts and continue to grow in influence, with over 100,0...

Darrell Kelley - avatar Darrell Kelley

How to Create a Melody on the Piano

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to write a song? Maybe you’ve wondered how anybody goes about writing a song? Once you understand how music works, you can use building b...

News Company - avatar News Company

MUSIC SENSATION WILLIE J RELEASES NEW SINGLE TO AID CORONA RELIEF

In the midst of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the release of “In the Morning” on Pure Mission Entertainment – the label he partners on with Aaron Emig - follows on the heels of the global s...

Tom Estey - avatar Tom Estey

Expert Advice: Indie Record Producing and Engineering

My career as an independent artist evolved out of my career as an entrepreneur and restaurant owner. I moved to from my hometown of Boston Atlanta in 2013 and opened my soul food restaurant Soul D...

Darrell Kelley - avatar Darrell Kelley

Weight of The World

When the calm of the world is at stake, and every message of hope is crucial to our collective peace of mind and the endurance of the human spirit, it’s not only possible, but essential to present any...

Tom Estey - avatar Tom Estey

DARRELL KELLEY “The Coronavirus”

Even though I have been releasing tracks and albums since 2018, I never considered myself an artist until I started getting responses from people telling me that my songs were resonating with them. ...

DARRELL KELLEY - avatar DARRELL KELLEY

Metropolitan Business News

New Research Highlights Opportunities for Sports Betting

Revenue Stream for Sports’ Post-COVID-19 Recovery Strategies New Rochelle, NY, June 1, 2020— Twenty-four states have now legalized sports betting, with more states considering legalization la...

Len Stein - avatar Len Stein

How to make overseas transfers easier?

Mainstream banks can charge as much as $20 just to process a basic international money transfer. Fortunately, today people are not doomed to handling personal finances only through mainstream gl...

News Company - avatar News Company

The flourishing international market of fragrance and perfume

There is something special and unique about the art of fragrance. This is a big world and there are quite literally a lot of smells around at any given time. In fact, as one of the five human senses i...

News Company - avatar News Company

Impact of good marketing on sales

Sales and marketing are brothers as they go hand and in hand. The job of both of these departments is to generate revenue so that an organization can make money. A company that does not generate rev...

News Company - avatar News Company

7 effective tips for increasing sales in retail

It seems that retailers have drawn a difficult lot in the 21st century: competition from online retail is growing steadily. After all, Internet retailers can sell your products at significantly lowe...

News Company - avatar News Company

10 Reasons to Use Labels

People cannot stop biting their nails, considering the messy condition of their homes. You open your kitchen drawer to grab some utensils, but instead, you take a glance at toys lying inside that dr...

News Company - avatar News Company

Holidays

5 COOL GADGETS TO CARRY FOR A SAFE TRIP

Are you planning to go on a trip? Possibly, you do not know what things are most necessary on a trip. In this article, we will guide you through some important tips. These tips help you to...

News Company - avatar News Company

New Baggage Regulations to Help Aussie Parents Travel with Infants

Travelling around the globe has never been easy, especially when infants tag along for the trip. One of the main issues that parents often have to deal with is the need to bring extra item...

News Company - avatar News Company

Maya Beach Opens to Tourists

Despite recent reports that Southern Thailand's famous Maya Beach will close for three months this year, in fact no decision to this effect has been made by Thai authorities. Phi Phi Nati...

Maevadi Rosenfeldt - avatar Maevadi Rosenfeldt



METRO DIGITAL NEWS

Breaking News & Opinion