Why Lady Bosses Are Judged For Being More Insensitive At Work

Women leaders simply don’t have it easy among other things and research is proving this to be true, reported a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Also, people are less likely to support a business if it failed while a woman was at the helm and hence, women receive more penalities for their failure than men. 

Women are expected to have more communal traits than men

Lead author of the study Nicole Votolato Montgomery of the University of Virginia in the US, said, “Women incur greater penalties for ethical transgressions because of persistent gender stereotypes that tend to categorize women as having more communal traits than men, such as being more likable, sensitive and supportive of others.” Conducting three experiments, Votolato and his team found that gender does influence the perception that people have of an organization. “When participants were told that the company had previously been made aware of a fuel sensor problem and failed to take immediate action, an ethical failure, they reported less intent to purchase from the company when the CEO was a woman than when the CEO was a man. However, when participants were told that the company was previously unaware of the product issue, a competence failure, they reported greater intent to buy the products when the CEO was a woman than when the CEO was a man.”

Employees are willing to give women leaders harsher punishments

In addition to this, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Suzette Caleo of Louisiana State University found that women are judged more harshly when they treat someone else unjustly, as compared to men. The study revealed that participants were willing to give their female managers much harsher punishments for their actions than they gave their male managers for their actions. “…In the original experiment, participants rated male and female managers as equally unjust for both procedural and interpersonal justice violations. But secondly, they violate gender norms about how women are supposed to be especially sensitive in their interactions.” Another researcher Martin Abel, an assistant professor of economics at Middlebury College, said that “Criticism from female managers leads to a 70% larger reduction in job satisfaction than criticism from male managers.” He reveals the reasons behind this is due to the fact that people think that women should be sensitive and undemanding and they can come across “uncouth” just because of their gender. While people are okay with men being unkind and harsh as leaders because they are displaying make behaviors. 

Image credit: Newsweek

Related Articles