To read this content please select one of the options below:

Gender stereotyping and self-stereotyping among Danish managers

Nina Smith (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Tor Eriksson (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Valdemar Smith (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 8 June 2021

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021




The purpose of this paper is to describe how gender stereotypes and self-stereotypes of Danish managers vary among managers at different job levels, from lower level managers to CEO level, in a large survey of Danish private-sector managers.


This study is explorative. Measures of stereotypes and self-stereotypes are constructed and analyzed with regressions models that control for a large number of individual and firm characteristics.


The results document significant gender differences in stereotyping among managers. Male managers have significantly more masculine stereotypes of successful leaders, and they rate themselves higher on masculine traits than female managers. For CEOs, the picture is different. Stereotypes do not differ by gender and female CEOs have more pronounced masculine stereotypes than female managers at lower levels. Female managers at the age of 50 are the least gender stereotyping managers. Younger female managers have significantly more masculine stereotypes about the role as a successful leader.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on cross-sectional data and does not claim to uncover causal relationships.

Practical implications

The results suggest that gender stereotypes and self-stereotypes among Danish private-sector managers are not going to change quickly indicating that new government policies with more focus on gender equalization and affirmative actions are called for.


Most earlier studies of stereotypes concerning female managers are based on studies of samples drawn from the general population or consisting of students. This study makes use of a large sample of managerial employees from all levels of the corporate hierarchy in different types of firms.



We are grateful to referees for valuable comments and helpful suggestions. We also received useful comments on earlier versions from seminar audiences at Tübingen, GATE (Lyon) and CUFE (Beijing) and participants at EALE (Ghent), 2nd International BFH Conference on Discrimination in the Labor Market (Bern), COPE (Zurich), Madrid Work and Organization Workshop, and Third International Workshop on Human Resource Management (Nuremberg).


Smith, N., Eriksson, T. and Smith, V. (2021), "Gender stereotyping and self-stereotyping among Danish managers", Gender in Management, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 622-639.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles