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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2021

Gary N. Powell, D. Anthony Butterfield and Xueting Jiang

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

Abstract

Purpose

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

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal , vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 14 February 2018

Gary N. Powell, D. Anthony Butterfield and Xueting Jiang

The purpose of this paper is to examine perceptions of the “Ideal President” (IP) and presidential candidates in the 2016 US presidential election in relation to gender…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine perceptions of the “Ideal President” (IP) and presidential candidates in the 2016 US presidential election in relation to gender stereotypes and leader prototypes.

Design/methodology/approach

In all, 378 business students assessed perceptions of either the IP or a particular candidate on measures of masculinity and femininity. Androgyny (balance of masculinity and femininity) and hypermasculinity (extremely high masculinity) scores were calculated from these measures.

Findings

The IP was perceived as higher in masculinity than femininity, but less similar to the male (Donald Trump) than the female (Hillary Clinton) candidate. IP perceptions were more androgynous than in the 2008 US presidential election. Respondents’ political preferences were related to their IP perceptions on hypermasculinity, which in turn were consistent with perceptions of their preferred candidate.

Social implications

Trump’s high hypermasculinity scores may explain why he won the electoral college vote, whereas Clinton’s being perceived as more similar to the IP, and IP perceptions’ becoming more androgynous over time, may explain why she won the popular vote.

Originality/value

The study extends the literature on the linkages between gender stereotypes and leader prototypes in two respects. Contrary to the general assumption of a shared leader prototype, it demonstrates the existence of different leader prototypes according to political preference. The hypermasculinity construct, which was introduced to interpret leader prototypes in light of Trump’s candidacy and election, represents a valuable addition to the literature with potentially greater explanatory power than masculinity in some situations.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Gary N. Powell and D. Anthony Butterfield

This study aims to examine factors that may explain the status of women in management by exploring the linkages between leader anti-prototypes and prototypes to gender stereotypes.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine factors that may explain the status of women in management by exploring the linkages between leader anti-prototypes and prototypes to gender stereotypes.

Design/methodology/approach

Samples from two populations described either a “bad manager” (representing leader anti-prototypes) or a “good manager” (representing leader prototypes) on two instruments that assessed masculinity and femininity.

Findings

On each instrument, masculinity was endorsed more than femininity in both leader prototypes and anti-prototypes. Both masculinity and femininity were endorsed more in leader prototypes than leader anti-prototypes but only when the purpose of the instrument was disguised rather than transparent.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of a single data collection method, the nature of the samples and a newly designed scale for purposes of the study are acknowledged. Further attention to the linkages of leader anti-prototypes and prototypes to gender stereotypes and the outcomes of these linkages is recommended.

Practical implications

Individuals who make managerial selection and promotion decisions may devote more attention to the presence or absence of masculine traits in candidates than to the presence or absence of feminine traits, thereby leading to female candidates being passed over and male candidates receiving greater scrutiny in determining who gets ahead.

Social implications

The study suggests cognitive mechanisms that may influence the status of women in management.

Originality/value

The study incorporates leader anti-prototypes and leader prototypes to explain the low status of women in management.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Gary N. Powell and D. Anthony Butterfield

Data gathered by the authors from undergraduate and part‐time graduate business students in 1976‐1977 suggested that men were more likely than women to aspire to top…

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Abstract

Data gathered by the authors from undergraduate and part‐time graduate business students in 1976‐1977 suggested that men were more likely than women to aspire to top management and that, consistent with traditional stereotypes of males and managers, a gender identity consisting of high masculinity and low femininity was associated with aspirations to top management. As a result of gender‐related social changes, we expected the gender difference in aspirations to top management but not the importance of gender identity to have decreased over time. We collected data in 1999 from the same two populations to test these notions. In newly collected data, high masculinity (but not low femininity) was still associated with such aspirations, and men still aspired to top management positions more than women. However, the gender difference in aspirations to top management did not decrease over time.

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 18 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Gary N. Powell and D. Anthony Butterfield

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of psychological androgyny, a construct that represents a combination of masculinity and femininity, in explaining changes…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of psychological androgyny, a construct that represents a combination of masculinity and femininity, in explaining changes in descriptions of a good manager over time.

Design/methodology/approach

Samples of the same two populations were surveyed at four different points in time spanning four decades (N = 1,818).

Findings

Good-manager descriptions became increasingly similar in masculinity and femininity over time, or increasingly androgynous according to the balance conceptualization of androgyny. However, both good-manager masculinity and good-manager femininity declined over time, with masculinity declining to a greater extent, which accounted for the greater similarity in these scores. As a result, according to the high masculinity/high femininity conceptualization of androgyny, good-manager descriptions actually became decreasingly androgynous and more “undifferentiated”. Overall, the trend in leader prototypes over time was toward less emphasis on traits associated with members of either sex.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of two alternative methods of analyses and the survey instrument are acknowledged. What constituted a good manager may have depended on the context. Further scholarly attention to the concept of an undifferentiated leadership style is recommended.

Practical implications

People may be moving beyond leader prototypes based on the simple application of gender stereotypes. Changes in leader prototypes over the past four decades may contribute to enhancements in women’s societal status.

Social implications

Leader prototypes may disadvantage women less than in the past.

Originality/value

Results suggest that the role of androgyny in leader prototypes is declining according to the high masculinity/high femininity conceptualization.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Gary N. Powell and D. Anthony Butterfield

The purpose of this paper is to examine perceptions of the “Ideal President” and candidates in the 2008 US presidential election in relation to gender and leader prototypes.

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1833

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine perceptions of the “Ideal President” and candidates in the 2008 US presidential election in relation to gender and leader prototypes.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 768 undergraduate business students rated either the ideal President or a presidential candidate on Bem Sex‐Role Inventory and Implicit Leadership Theory scales.

Findings

The ideal President was seen as more similar to male candidates as a group than female candidates as a group (i.e. “think president – think male”). The ideal President was seen as higher in masculinity than femininity (i.e. “think president – think masculine”).

Research limitations/implications

Additional factors beyond gender and leader prototypes may affect perceptions of presidential candidates and the ideal President. Respondents came exclusively from northeastern USA; hence, results may not be generalizable to other populations. Replication of this study in nations that have elected a female leader is recommended. Future theory and research should link perceptions of male and female leaders in different nations to dimensions of national culture such as gender egalitarianism.

Social implications

The results suggest the continued presence of sex‐related biases in leader evaluations in the political context. Such biases influence whether specific groups are excluded from political leadership because of their personal characteristics (e.g. women), which would dilute the talent of the pool of available candidates.

Originality/value

The results increase knowledge of the linkages among sex, gender, and political leadership by incorporating both gender and leader prototypes.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 7 December 2015

Gary N. Powell and D. Anthony Butterfield

The purpose of this paper is to consider the current status of women in management and explanations offered for this status in light of a rare empirical field study of the…

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2274

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the current status of women in management and explanations offered for this status in light of a rare empirical field study of the “glass ceiling” phenomenon the authors conducted about 20 years ago.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors review the study’s key arguments, unexpected results, and implications for organizational effectiveness (which have been largely ignored). The authors then review what has transpired and what has been learned about the glass ceiling phenomenon since.

Findings

The nature of glass ceilings has remained essentially stable over a 20-year period, although further explanations for them have flourished.

Research limitations/implications

More scholarly examinations of ways to shatter glass ceilings and thereby enhance organizational effectiveness are recommended.

Practical implications

Organizations, human resources directors, and internal decision makers need to adopt practices that foster “debiasing” of decisions about promotions to top management.

Social implications

Societies need to encourage organizations to adopt ways to shatter glass ceilings that continue to disadvantage women.

Originality/value

A systematic review and analysis of the present-day implications of an early study of the glass ceiling phenomenon has not previously been conducted.

Details

Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, vol. 2 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2051-6614

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2008

Gary N. Powell, D. Anthony Butterfield and Kathryn M. Bartol

The purpose of this study is to examine sex effects in evaluations of transformational and transactional leaders.

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5037

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine sex effects in evaluations of transformational and transactional leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 459 part‐time (evening) MBA students, most of whom worked full‐time, read a vignette of either a male or female leader who exhibited either a transformational or transactional leadership style and then evaluated the leader's behavior.

Findings

Female‐transformational leaders received more favorable evaluations than male‐transformational leaders, especially from female evaluators. However, evaluations of transactional leaders did not differ according to leader sex, and male evaluators did not evaluate male and female leaders of either style differently.

Research limitations/implications

Evaluators were enrolled in a part‐time graduate program in management; hence, results may not be generalizable to other populations. In addition, the study focused on evaluation of hypothetical rather than actual leaders. The results suggest a female advantage in evaluations of transformational leaders, especially when women are the evaluators. Extension of theories of gender and leadership to account for such results and testing of the extended theories is recommended.

Practical implications

The results suggest the continued presence of sex‐related biases in leader evaluations, although in a different direction than in prior research. Organizations need to take steps to discourage expression of such biases.

Originality/value

Contrary to prior research, the results suggest that sex effects in leader evaluations now favor female leaders more than male leaders.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2002

Beverly G. Merrick

“Which advertisement fits reality?” asked Pamela Butler, researcher into gender communication. The top ad represents selected adjectives used to describe feminine…

Abstract

“Which advertisement fits reality?” asked Pamela Butler, researcher into gender communication. The top ad represents selected adjectives used to describe feminine characteristics in the Bern Sex Role Inventory (BSRI), a psychometric testing instrument, while the bottom ad represents so‐called masculine personality characteristics. The ads were adapted from Butler's advertisements for “Insurance Executives” in Self‐Assertion for Women.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Beverly G. Merrick

Wanted: Manager Affectionate, childlike person who does not use harsh language, to head our administrative division. We want someone who is cheerful and eager to sooth…

Abstract

Wanted: Manager Affectionate, childlike person who does not use harsh language, to head our administrative division. We want someone who is cheerful and eager to sooth hurt feelings. The position requires gullibility. This is the perfect job for the tender, yielding individual. Wanted: Manager Competitive, ambitious person with leadership ability to head our administrative division. We want someone who is dominant and self‐sufficient. The position requires strong analytical ability. This is the perfect job for a self‐reliant, independent person.

Details

International Journal of Commerce and Management, vol. 11 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1056-9219

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