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Managerial aspiration: do gender and gender role identity make a difference in the Chinese context?

Ruijuan Zhang (School of Management, China Women’s University, Beijing, China)
Shaoping Qiu (College of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Larry M. Dooley (Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Tamim Choudhury (The Bush School, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 27 August 2020

Issue publication date: 22 March 2021

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore how gender and gender role identity separately and jointly affect managerial aspirations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was cross-sectional in nature. Survey data were collected from Chinese Government sectors. Two-way analysis of variance was used to test the research hypotheses.

Findings

The results showed that gender role identity and combination of gender and gender role identity predict management aspirations while gender alone does not affect management aspirations. Androgynous individuals self-reported higher scores of managerial aspirations. Female managers who perceive themselves as androgynous and masculine tend to possess higher management aspirations. However, when they perceive themselves to exhibit feminine traits, they are more likely to hold lower management aspirations. Moreover, male managers with androgynous and feminine traits are inclined to have higher management aspirations.

Research limitations/implications

Due to cross-sectional survey data, research results may be biased by common method variance. In addition, because of a convenient sample, the research results may lack generalizability. Moreover, with participants from different organizations, the percentage of men and women in the organization and participants’ role conflicts between work and family life would impact the gender role identity of individuals. Future research should control for the gender composition of the workplace and participants’ role conflicts between work and family life.

Practical implications

The findings can help narrow the gender gap of managerial aspirations through focusing on gender role identity in selecting managers and designing the leadership training program, ultimately resulting in diminishing disparity in top leadership positions between men and women.

Originality/value

This study examines how gender and gender role identity separately and jointly affects managerial aspirations in the Chinese context.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: Women’s leadership Development Project funded by Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.

This study is a part of the Women’s Leadership Development Project. The authors would like to thank Beijing Municipal Commission of Education for funding this project. Also. the authors thank editors and anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments.

Citation

Zhang, R., Qiu, S., Dooley, L.M. and Choudhury, T. (2021), "Managerial aspiration: do gender and gender role identity make a difference in the Chinese context?", Gender in Management, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 189-204. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-11-2019-0221

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited