Are managerial gender stereotypes universal?

Emmeline de Pillis (University of Hawai’i at Hilo, Hilo, Hawai’i, USA)
Richard Kernochan (Department of Management, California State Universtity, Northridge, California, USA)
Ofer Meilich (California State Universtity, SanMarcos College of Business Administration, SanMarcos, California, USA)
Elise Prosser (Prosser Marketing Management, Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA, and)
Victoria Whiting (Gore School of Business, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Publication date: 8 February 2008



The purpose of this paper is to compare the extent to which the stereotype of “manager” aligns with the stereotype of “male” in the Continental United States (CUS) and Hawai’i.


In total, 176 male and 187 female business undergraduates in Hawai’i and the CUS were asked to describe either a manager, a male manager, or a female manager using the 92‐item Schein Descriptive Index.


Men and women in Hawai’i, and women in the CUS, did not report a strong “think manager  =   think male” bias, but male participants in the CUS did: These men described hypothetical female managers as comparatively obedient, submissive, timid, reserved, fearful, uncertain, passive, and interested in their own appearance. They rated male managers as relatively more firm, independent, persistent, self‐reliant, and having a high need for achievement.

Research limitations/implications

The relative lack of a “think manager  =   think male” bias in Hawai’i is remarkable, since this bias is observed worldwide. Further investigation would confirm or clarify these findings.

Practical implications

Stereotypical views persist among some of our future business leaders, but are not universal. Educators and businesspeople should be aware of the strong “think manager  =   think male” bias still extant among male business students in the CUS.


Although the persistence of the “think manager  =   think male” stereotype is troubling, this stereotype is not universal. While past cross‐cultural investigations treat the US’ culture as homogeneous, we find significant regional differences with regard to managerial gender stereotypes.



de Pillis, E., Kernochan, R., Meilich, O., Prosser, E. and Whiting, V. (2008), "Are managerial gender stereotypes universal?", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 94-102.

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