Year of Publication

2013

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Ashley Batts Allen

Second Advisor

Dr. James Wirth

Department Chair

Dr. Michael Toglia

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick

Abstract

Women in leadership positions may experience stereotype threat when explicitly or implicitly reminded of gender and leader stereotypes. Increased worry about potentially confirming the stereotype should affect their behavior and perceptions in leadership situations. I used a 3 (article) x 2 (confederate gender) between-participants design. Female participants read an article that either made stereotypes explicit (explicit threat), countered stereotypes (threat nullification), or did not include stereotype-relevant information (implicit threat) and were assigned to lead a male or female confederate through the construction of a Lego model. I hypothesized that women in the implicit threat conditions (implicit article; male confederate) would objectively and subjectively perform worse than women in the explicit and nullification article conditions and those working with a female confederate. Women should experience the situation more negatively in conditions of threat (explicit and implicit articles; male confederate). Confederate perceptions of the participants should be more negative, except competence, when participants performed well (explicit and nullification article; female confederate). Results partially supported the hypotheses. Women who led men objectively performed worse, perceived their own performance as worse, were perceived as less competent and overall less favorably by their employees, and experienced the situation more negatively than women who led women. The article had little impact on participants and outcomes. The findings suggest that female leaders may be unintentionally undermining themselves when stereotype reminders are present, such as when asked to lead a man in a masculine task. Experiencing stereotype threat may influence women to opt out of leadership due to their negative experiences and they may not earn promotions due to poor performance and coworkers’ negative perceptions of their behavior.