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Gender Differences in Perception of Promotion Requirements: A Social Role Theory Perspective

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journal contribution
posted on 08.06.2017, 02:52 by Wood, Glenice, Lindorff, Margaret
Although increasing numbers of women are entering management positions in Australia, they are under-represented at senior management level. This study tests the proposition that this may have occurred as a consequence of males and females holding differing perceptions of the prerequisites for promotion. If such perceptions exist, they may lead to gender-based differences in promotion-seeking and achievement. Social role theory (Eagly, 1987) suggests that such gender differences in attitudes could occur because of the different socialisation experiences of males and females. Thus, although males and females may occupy the same occupational roles, social role theory predicts that they may have different beliefs due to their gender roles. Five hundred and seven middle managers (351 males and 156 females) participated in the study. Results indicated that males and females were significantly different on the importance they placed on the requirements for promotion. In particular, women placed more importance than men on interpersonal skills. This result supports the prediction of social role theory that gender roles will influence perceptions of organisational requirements. It was also congruent with social role theory's prediction that women will be more communal than will men in their perceptions.


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Department of Management.

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