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The paradigmatic shift in gender theory, which focuses attention away from the individual and toward structural accounts, has undoubtedly advanced the amount and quality…
The paradigmatic shift in gender theory, which focuses attention away from the individual and toward structural accounts, has undoubtedly advanced the amount and quality of research on gender as a macro-level phenomenon. However, social psychological accounts of gender have been less frequent among gender scholars in sociology, perhaps due to the perception that studying individuals might reinvigorate sex role and socialization accounts. This concern is especially understandable since sociology as a field has yet to fully incorporate current theories of gender (Stacey & Thorne, 1985; Ferree & Hall, 1996). For example, Ferree and Hall (1996) have shown that many introductory sociology textbooks still present gender as simply the product of socialization, even while examining other bases of inequality, such as race and class, at a structural level. Rather than rehearsing past debates, we argue that social psychological perspectives make a unique contribution to bridging the multiple levels of the gender system, and are especially well suited to helping us understand the ways that gender is achieved through interaction. Understanding gender as an interactive process sheds light on how structural conditions constrain individual choices as well as how structural patterns of gender inequality are generated and recreated. Discovering mechanisms at the micro level, which play an active role in the persistence of inequality, is especially fruitful because they suggest ways by which gender inequality might be lessened.
Advances in Group Processes publishes theoretical analyses, reviews, and theory based empirical chapters on group phenomena. The series adopts a broad conception of “group processes.” This includes work on groups ranging from the very small to the very large, and on classic and contemporary topics such as status, power, exchange, justice, influence, decision-making, intergroup relations, and social networks. Previous contributors have included scholars from diverse fields including sociology, psychology, political science, philosophy, mathematics, and organizational behavior.
Gender inequality in paid work persists, in the form of a gender wage gap, occupational sex segregation and a “glass ceiling” for women, despite substantial institutional…
Gender inequality in paid work persists, in the form of a gender wage gap, occupational sex segregation and a “glass ceiling” for women, despite substantial institutional change in recent decades. Two classes of explanations that have been offered as partial explanations of persistent gender inequality include economic theories of statistical discrimination and social psychological theories of status-based discrimination. Despite the fact that the two theories offer explanations for the same phenomena, little effort has been made to compare them, and practitioners of one theory are often unfamiliar with the other. In this article, we assess both theories. We argue that the principal difference between the two theories lies in the mechanism by which discrimination takes place: discrimination in statistical models derives from an informational bias, while discrimination in status models derives from a cognitive bias. We also consider empirical assessments of both explanations, and find that while research has generally been more supportive of status theories than statistical theories, statistical theories have been more readily evoked as explanations for gender inequalities in the paid labor market. We argue that status theories could be more readily applied to understanding gender inequality by adopting the broader conception of performance favored by statistical discrimination theories. The goal is to build on the strong empirical base of status characteristic theory, but draw on statistical discrimination theories to extend its ability to explain macro level gender inequalities.
Gender is at core a group process because people use it as a primary frame for coordinating behavior in interpersonal relations. The everyday use of sex/gender as cultural…
Gender is at core a group process because people use it as a primary frame for coordinating behavior in interpersonal relations. The everyday use of sex/gender as cultural tool for organizing social relations spreads gendered meanings beyond sex and reproduction to all spheres of social life that are carried out through social relationships and constitutes gender as a distinct and obdurate system of inequality. Through gender's role in organizing social relations, gender inequality is rewritten into new economic and social arrangements as they emerge, contributing to the persistence of that inequality in modified form in the face of potentially leveling economic and political changes in contemporary society.
I describe the shifting standards model of stereotyping and explain the implications of this model for organizational decisions. I present research showing that the…
I describe the shifting standards model of stereotyping and explain the implications of this model for organizational decisions. I present research showing that the standards one sets for inferring competence and incompetence affect important organizational decisions, including short listing, hiring, probation, and firing decisions. I also present research documenting that gender stereotypes interact with parental status to affect standards set for hiring a mother and father. I conclude by offering recommendations for future research that delineates the subtle ways stereotypes affect judgments of work-related competence.
This chapter focuses on the implications of both the descriptive and prescriptive aspects of gender stereotypes for women in the workplace. Using the Lack of Fit model, we…
This chapter focuses on the implications of both the descriptive and prescriptive aspects of gender stereotypes for women in the workplace. Using the Lack of Fit model, we review how performance expectations deriving from descriptive gender stereotypes (i.e., what women are like) can impede women's career progress. We then identify organizational conditions that may weaken the influence of these expectations. In addition, we discuss how prescriptive gender stereotypes (i.e., what women should be like) promote sex bias by creating norms that, when not followed, induce disapproval and social penalties for women. We then review recent research exploring the conditions under which women experience penalties for direct, or inferred, prescriptive norm violations.
Two studies investigate gender and status effects on self-handicapping: selecting actions that can impair future performances, perhaps to protect self-image. Gender…
Two studies investigate gender and status effects on self-handicapping: selecting actions that can impair future performances, perhaps to protect self-image. Gender socialization and status processes suggest two potential explanations for the consistent finding that men self-handicap more than women. If status differences contribute to the tendency to self-handicap, then holding gender constant, those with high status on other characteristics would self-handicap more than those with low status. In Study 1, men assigned to high-status positions selected less study time (and thus self-handicapped more) than did men assigned to low-status positions. Women assigned high status, however, self-handicapped no more than did women assigned low status. Because study time as a measure of self-handicapping may be confounded with confidence or motivation, a second study assigned status and measured self-handicapping by the selection of performance-enhancing or -detracting music. Study 2 also found that high status increased self-handicapping among men but not among women. Both gender socialization and status processes may play roles in self-handicapping.
This chapter examines the tension between interdependence and dominance. First, we briefly review prominent social psychological theories regarding the development and…
This chapter examines the tension between interdependence and dominance. First, we briefly review prominent social psychological theories regarding the development and maintenance of status systems. Next we briefly describe how these structures help distribute social power in modern society. We then examine how prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination stem from status systems and interdependence, using the Stereotype Content Model (Fiske, Xu, Cuddy & Glick, 1999; Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002). Next, we consider the unique circumstances of gender relations and how they give way to complementary justifications of gender inequality, using Ambivalent Sexism Theory (Glick & Fiske, 1996, 1999, 2001a, 2001b). Last, we review evidence to support our argument that women do not necessarily acquiesce joyfully to the present hierarchical arrangement, but rather guide their choices by their pragmatic alternatives, as dictated by benevolent and hostile ideologies.
Beginning in 1982, the majority of college students have been women and that majority has increased since. Explanations for the predominance of women in college…
Beginning in 1982, the majority of college students have been women and that majority has increased since. Explanations for the predominance of women in college enrollments and completion include a variety of labor-market factors that might now advantage men less than in the past. Avariety of labor-market analyses show that, while some recent developments may have reduced incentives for men to enroll in college, labor-market explanations alone cannot account for the predominance of women in college. Some of the reduced incentives for male college enrollment point to gender identities typical of young men and women as an important explanation for the predominance of women in college. Preliminary evidence for the gender identity explanation is offered. More controlled studies capable of testing and exploring the implications of the gender identity explanation are proposed.