The Think Manager-Think Male Stereotype - Malleable or Stable?

Bosak, Janine; Diekman, Amanda; Eagly, Alice H.; Sczesny, Sabine (24 May 2013). The Think Manager-Think Male Stereotype - Malleable or Stable? (Unpublished). In: 16th Conference of European Association of Work & Organisational Psychology (EAWOP). Münster Deutschland. 22.05.-25.05.2013.

Stereotypes about leadership still represent a potent barrier to women’s advancement to leadership roles. Successful leaders are perceived to possess predominately agentic traits (e.g., assertive, dominant) that are more similar to those ascribed to men than women. This perceived incongruity of people’s beliefs about leaders and women underlies prejudice against women leaders (Eagly & Karau, 2002). Thus, an important question is whether such stereotypical beliefs about the traits of leaders, men, and women incorporate change or stability over time.
To examine this question, 235 Irish business students (113 men, 122 women) rated a target group’s characteristics (men, women, middle managers) as of a specific time (50 years ago, present, 50 years into the future) on gender‐stereotypical traits.
Following Schein’s (1973) approach, intraclass correlation coefficients estimated the extent to which the stereotype of managers was similar to that of men or women. The results showed a large, significant correlation between the stereotypes about men and managers within each time condition and overall. In contrast, the women‐manager correlation was negative and nonsignificant overall. However, this negative correlation weakened from the past to the present and became positive and marginally significant for the future.
Research/Practical Implications
Altogether the results suggest that people perceive stereotypes about leaders to be more similar to men than to women. These perceptions may continue to function as impediments to women leaders’ advancement despite the trend over time toward femalemanager similarity.
To our knowledge this is the first study to systematically test perceptions of change in the think manager‐think male stereotype overtime.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Sczesny, Sabine


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Irène Gonce-Gyr

Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2014 10:13

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:31


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