A study from the United States examined how the exposure to gender roles in the field of work are related to the self-view of women as a leader and to their interest in masculine professions. When exposed to traditional job incumbents (e.g. male surgeon or female nurse) compared to non-traditional (e.g. female pilot or male flight attendant), women perceived themselves more as a leader. Compared to a control group, exposure to both, non- and traditional job incumbents, is related to less interest in masculine and more interest in feminine occupations. The researchers explain these counterintuitive findings by threatening upward comparison in case of successful females in masculine, high-status professions or by highlighting possible backlashes women face in male-dominated fields.
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A recent study from the USA investigated the influence of chief executive officers perceived social class origins on their strategic risk taking preferences. The authors of the study found that CEOs of upper and lower social class origins engage in higher levels of strategic risk taking compared to their middle class counterparts. This research was one of the first attempts to integrate work-related decision making and social class background. It provides an important initial step toward understanding the effects of the social class background of leaders on firm-level outcomes.
Older employees may be more resilient workers and able to help younger colleagues rattled by the economic crisis, according to a study by the Center on Aging & Work. While employees generally report a declining engagement at work in times of financial hardships, older workers were more resistant against such hardships compared to younger employees.
Female leaders who show narcissistic tendencies are rated as less effective by their male subordinates, according to a study conducted in the Netherlands. Narcissists typically show a lack of concern for other people, arrogance, and a sense of self-grandiosity. The authors of the study assume that these features violate female gender stereotypes and thereby lead to a less favorable evaluation of narcissistic female leaders. Interestingly, male narcissistic leaders received no penalty in their subordinates' evaluation.
Women's career aspirations are affected by their perceived congruence with senior management positions and by their perceived opportunity to reach senior management, as a US study revealed. Organizations should therefore assure that senior management roles are not predominantly associated with masculine characteristics and should evaluate their promotion systems to eliminate such psychological barriers to women's advancement into senior management.