The two-way gender bias in management evaluations and decision making: evaluations of managers vs. evaluations of grievants
Luthar, Harsh K.
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This study consisted of two field experiments and examined how managerial evaluations may be influenced by the gender and gender-role behavior of the person being evaluated. Literature streams in the domains of leadership, performance evaluation, grievance arbitration, and criminology were reviewed and integrated to derive a conceptual framework. The research hypotheses focused on how male and female managers would differ in their evaluations of male and female target persons in two different contexts. Two cases, each approximately three pages long, were written for the purpose of this study. In both cases, the gender and gender-role behavior of the target person were manipulated. A pilot study, in which 255 students responded to the case of the grievant and 290 students responded to the case of the manager, waS carried out to test the psychometric properties of the scales as well as the integrity of the gender-role manipulation. The results indicated the success of the manipulations. The evaluation measures of interest were found to have high reliabilities. In the actual study, research subjects consisted of 129 unit directors or higher level administrators working for the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The subjects were asked to respond to both cases and evaluate the target persons. The sequence in which the cases were presented was built into the design of the study. There were no significant findings pertaining to the proposed hypotheses. Other results indicated that in the grievance resolution context, female unit directors rated aggressive male workers lower than aggressive female workers on performance and abilities. Relative to male unit directors, female unit directors gave aggressive lower-level male workers unfavorable evaluations. In the context of evaluating managers, female unit directors relative to male unit directors more favorably evaluated the democratic manager. The difference between male and female unit directors was larger when they evaluated the same-sex democratic manager. Female unit directors gave the democratic female manager higher evaluations than those given to the democratic male manager by male unit directors. The discussion focuses on the implications of results for conceptual and theoretical development in the gender bias literature, as well as what the results may mean for organizations and practicing managers. The potential limitations of the study are identified, and the study is concluded with suggestions for future research.
- Doctoral Dissertations