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The “good manager” over five decades: towards an androgynous profile?

Gary N. Powell (Department of Management, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA)
D. Anthony Butterfield (Department of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
Xueting Jiang (Department of Management and Marketing, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, New York, USA)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 10 June 2021

Issue publication date: 12 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to examine stability and change in the linkage between gender and managerial stereotypes over a five-decade period.


Samples from two populations (n = 2347) described a “good manager” on an instrument that assessed masculinity and femininity during each of the past five decades.


Good-manager descriptions exhibited a decreasing emphasis on masculinity and increasing emphasis on femininity over time, culminating in an androgynous profile, or a balance of masculine and feminine traits, for each population in the most recently collected data.

Practical implications

Although women face systemic barriers in the managerial ranks of organizations, a change in managerial stereotypes to an androgynous rather than masculine profile would represent one less barrier for them to overcome.

Social implications

If managers come to be held to an androgynous standard in their behavior regardless of their gender, there would be a more level playing field for candidates for open managerial positions, rather than one tilted in favor of men.


The analysis of data from samples of the same population types using the same measures systematically over five decades, and the provocative finding of an androgynous profile of a good manager in the most recently collected data, are original contributions to the literature.



Powell, G.N., Butterfield, D.A. and Jiang, X. (2021), "The “good manager” over five decades: towards an androgynous profile?", Gender in Management, Vol. 36 No. 6, pp. 714-730.



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