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Sex role stereotypes: does business education make a difference?

Lori D. Paris (California State University, Bakersfield, California, USA)
Diane L. Decker (California State University, Bakersfield, California, USA)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 10 February 2012




Studies indicate that a managerial pro‐male bias still exists. While managers and females have begun to view women as possessing managerial attributes, male students, on average, still tend to stereotype the managerial role using a pro‐male bias. Based on research by Heilman and by Lord and Maher, the purpose of this paper is to propose that business students, who are exposed to a curriculum that emphasizes the importance of diversity, as recommended by AACSB, will exhibit fewer gender stereotypes.


Using the Schein Descriptive Index, three groups of university students were surveyed to determine whether individuals exposed to formal management education experience a reduction in “men as manager” stereotypes. The hypothesis was tested using interclass correlation coefficients (r′) from two randomized‐groups analysis of variance.


The hypothesis was not supported and the findings indicate that students in the business administration program stereotyped the managerial role to a greater degree than those not enrolled in the business administration program.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies should be conducted to determine if the findings of this particular study are universal across college campuses.

Practical implications

Business schools must evaluate the methods that are being used to teach diversity in management education.


The authors' unique approach focuses on the sample as an important element when studying gender bias in management. Given the state of the economy and the cuts to university programs, by determining where bias occurs, diversity education in the university environment can be better utilized for optimal impact.



Paris, L.D. and Decker, D.L. (2012), "Sex role stereotypes: does business education make a difference?", Gender in Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 36-50.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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