Category Archives: Working Women

Working Women

Women Balance on the Negotiation Tightrope to Avoid Backlash

Linda Babcock

Women less frequently negotiate initial salaries than men, leading to a long-term wage disparity, reported Carnegie-Mellon University’s Linda Babcock.

Hannah Riley Bowles

Women who did negotiate were negatively evaluated by both men and women participants in a lab study, found Harvard’s Hannah Riley Bowles and Lei Lai.
These volunteers reported less desire to work with women who asked for more money.

Lei Lai

Lei Lai

Both male and female evaluators said they disliked “demandingness” among women who negotiated, and said they preferred “nicer” non-negotiators.
However, reducing women’s degree of assertiveness did not improve evaluators’s perceptions of women negotiators.

These findings support Babcock’s results:   When male and female volunteers asked for salary increases using identical scripts in controlled lab situations, participants liked men’s style, but disliked the same words from women.
Women negotiators were considered “aggressive” unless they smiled, or displayed a warm, friendly manner.

The social reaction to women negotiators was improved when female participants:

  • Justified the salary request based on a supporting “business case,”
  • Communicated concern for organizational relationships.

Applying these tactics did not improve women’s negotiation outcomes, but improved other people’s reactions to women negotiators.

In contrast, women negotiators improved both social and negotiation outcomes when they justified the salary request based on the relationship.

Women who smile and focus on the interpersonal relationship fulfill gender role expectations, leading to greater approval by male and female observers.

Kathleen McGinn

Kathleen McGinn

Bowles, with Harvard colleague Kathleen McGinn and Babcock, suggested that “situational ambiguity” and “gender triggers” modify women’s willingness to negotiate.

When women have information about the potential salary range and whether the salary is negotiable, they are more likely to negotiate.
Women can improve their negotiation outcomes by asking:

  • the salary range,
  • which elements of the compensation package are negotiable.
Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Effective negotiation is a survival skill, according to Dan Pink:
The ability to move others to exchange what they have for what we have is crucial to our survival and our happiness.
It has helped our species evolve, lifted our living standards, and enhanced our daily lives.

He noted that effective persuaders and “sellers” collaborate in “inspecting” a negotiation and “responding” to the negotiation through “interpersonal attunement.”

Pink suggested ABC negotiation skills:

Attunement: Aligning actions and attitudes with others,

Buoyancy:  “Positivity,” optimism, asking questions,

Clarity:  Helping others identify unrecognized needs that can be fulfilled by the negotiation proposal.

Joan Williams

Joan Williams

UC Hastings College of the Law’s Joan Williams offered strategies to address documented wage discrepancies.

As more women negotiate salaries, managers may view this as an expected practice.

  • What is the best negotiation pitch you’ve heard for a job-related salary increase or role promotion?
  • How did the person overcome objections?
  • How did the person manage the relationship with the negotiating partner?

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©Kathryn Welds

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“Everything is Negotiable”: Prepare, Ask, Revise, Ask Again

Anna Beninger

Anna Beninger

 

Alixandra Pollack

Alixandra Pollack

Women negotiated salaries less frequently than men, leading to a persistent compensation gaps for women MBA graduates from 26 leading business schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, in a study by Catalyst’s Anna Beninger and Alixandra Pollack.

Similarly, women in academic medicine earned about 80 percent of their male peers’ compensation in a salary study by Harvard’s Catherine DesRoches, Sowmya Rao, Lisa Iezzoni, and Eric Campbell with Darren Zinner of Brandeis.

Catherine DesRoches

Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock reported that women MBAs earn USD $500,000 – USD $2 million less over their careers than their male classmates.
She linked this difference to men’s greater willingness to negotiate salary and promotions.

Babcock, with Sara Laschever, outlined precursors of these negotiation differences based on gender socialization.

Linda Babcock

They observed that many parents encourage boys to take risks, earn money, and participate in competitive team sports.
These activities prepare boys to negotiate, compete, and tolerate disrupted interpersonal relationships, according to Babcock and Laschever.

In contrast, they noted that parents may instead encourage girls to play collaboratively and value interpersonal affiliation.

John List

John List

The gender-based wage gap’s association with women not negotiating salaries and preferring less competitive work roles, was also reported by University of Chicago’s John List, Andreas Leibbrandt, and Jeffrey Flory.

Their research studied respondents to two identical “job ads” on internet job boards with different wage structures.
One position offered hourly pay whereas the other role’s pay depended on performance compared with coworkers.
More women than men applied to the hourly wage role.

Andreas Leibbrandt

Andreas Leibbrandt

Men were 94 percent more likely than women to seek and perform well in competitive work roles in data from  nearly 7,000 job seekers across 16 large American cities.
This gender wage gap “more than doubled” as performance-linked compensation increased.
Women in these studies were significantly more likely to walk away from a competitive workplace when they had alternate employment options.

Jeffrey Flory

Jeffrey Flory

Women were more likely to apply to jobs if the performance relied on teamwork rather than individual accomplishment, or if the salary was a flat fee independent of their performance.

Men were also more likely to negotiate when there was no explicit statement that wages are negotiable.
They did not wait for an invitation or permission to negotiate.
In these studies, women negotiated as frequently as men when they were invited to ask for higher salaries and job titles.

Negotiation practices considered “acceptable” for men are often viewed as “aggressive” when women use them, according to Babcock.
To counteract this reaction, she and Laschever advised women to:

  • Consider that “everything is negotiable,”
  • Research personal “market worth” using online resources like Salary.com, Payscale.com, and Glassdoor.com,
  • Consider oneself a viable candidate for higher salaries and job roles,
  • Examine self-limiting beliefs about negotiation,
  • Plan negotiation talking points, including accomplishments, results, impact,
  • Practice negotiating the salary proposal, suggest timing, set an ambitious anchor point, prepare for objections,
  • Plan counter-offers and practice self-regulation (such as through intentional breathing) to maintain negotiation position and interpersonal rapport.

Collaborative negotiation enables both people to derive value from the negotiation conversation through preparation, proactivity, and persistence while reaffirming the negotiation goal’s value for all parties.

Negotiation principles were summarised in the classic Getting to Yes: Negotiating without Giving In by Harvard’s Roger Fisher and William Ury.
Research-based guidance on effective Negotiation by Ohio State’s Roy Lewicki, David Saunders of Queen’s University, and Vanderbilt’s Bruce Barry of Vanderbilt.

Leigh Thompson

Leigh Thompson

More than 90% of all negotiators neglect to ask “diagnostic questions” that reveal the negotiation partner’s most important needs, priorities, preferences, and even fears, found Leigh Thompson of Northwestern.
When negotiators elicited these “wants,” they achieved significantly improved negotiation outcomes.

Knowing Your ValueTelevision journalist Mika Brzezinski echoed Babcock and Laschever’s recommendations based on interviews with prominent women and men discussing the persistent gender wage gap.
She suggested a structure to guide negotiation:

  • Research,
  • Leverage,
  • Negotiate,
  • Re-negotiate.Hardball for Women
Pat Heim

Pat Heim

Women’s reluctance to negotiate may be related to gender differences in attributions of success and failure, suggested Pat Heim.
Women often attribute failures to themselves (“internalizing”) whereas men identify external factors (“rationalisations”) associated with their shortcomings.
Women are more likely to attribute success to external factors (“deflection of merit”), whereas men typically attribute their effective performance to to themselves (“self-bolstering”).

Men are often promoted because they are seen to have “potential,” but women are  more likely to be promoted based on their results and accomplishments, noted Heim.
Even factors like attire can influence perception of authority:  Men judged women as less authoritative when wearing “business casual” attire.

These studies encourage women to develop skills and behaviours required to close the wage gap between professional women and men.

-How do you prepare for negotiations and overcome objections during negotiations?

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©Kathryn Welds

Costs of Workplace Incivility

Christine Pearson

A single incident of incivility in the workplace can result in significant operational costs, reported Christine Pearson of Thunderbird School of Global Management and Christine Porath of Georgetown University.
They cited consequences of workplace incivility:

  • Decreased work effort due to disengagement,

    Christine Porath

    Christine Porath

  • Less time at work to reduce contact with  offensive co-workers or managers,
  • Decreased work productivity due to ruminating about incivility incidents,
  • Less commitment to the organization,
  • Attrition.

Pier Massimo Forni

P.M. Forni

Additional organizational symptoms include:

  • Increased customer complaints,
  • Accentuated cultural and communications barriers,
  • Reduced confidence in leadership,
  • Less adoption of changed organizational processes,
  • Reduced willingness to accept additional responsibility and make discretionary work efforts.

Workplace incivility behaviors were described as “rude and discourteous, displaying a lack of regard for others,” noted Pearson and Lynne Andersson, then of St. Joseph’s University.
“Uncivil” behaviors were enumerated in The Baltimore Workplace Civility Study by Johns Hopkins’ P.M. Forni and Daniel L. Buccino with David Stevens and Treva Stack of University of Baltimore:

  • Refusing to collaborate on a team project,
  • Shifting blame for an error to a co-worker,
      • Reading another’s mail,
      • Neglecting to say “please,” “thank you”,
      • Taking a co-worker’s food from the office refrigerator without asking.

Respondents classified more extreme unacceptable behaviors as “violent”:

  • Pushing a co-worker during an argument,
  • Yelling at a co-worker,
  • Firing a subordinate during a disagreement,
  • Criticizing a subordinate in public,
  • Using foul language in the workplace.

Gary Namie

Workplace bullying was included in Gary Namie’s Campaign Against Workplace Bullying.
He defined bullying as “the deliberate repeated, hurtful verbal mistreatment of a person (target) by a cruel perpetrator (bully).

His survey of more than 1300 respondents found that:

  • More than one-third of respondents observed bullying in the previous two years,
  • More than 80% of perpetrators were workplace supervisors,
  • Women bullied as frequently as men,
  • Women were targets of bullying 75% of the time,
  • Few bullies were punished, transferred, or terminated from jobs.

Costs of health-related symptoms experienced by bullying targets included:

  • Depression,
  • Sleep loss, anxiety, inability to concentrate, which reduced work productivity,
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among 31% of women and 21% of men,
  • Frequent rumination about past bullying, leading to inattention, poor concentration, and reduced productivity.

Choosing CivilityWidespread prevalence of workplace incivility was also reported by Forni, who suggested ways to improve workplace interactions and inclusion:

  • Assume that others have positive intentions,
  • Pay attention, listen,
  • Include all co-workers in workplace activities,
  • Avoid complaints,
  • Acknowledge others,
  • Give praise when warranted,
  • Respect others’ opinions, time, space, indirect refusals,
  • Avoid asking personal questions,
  • Be selective in asking for favors,
  • Sincerely apologize when warranted,
  • Provide constructive suggestions for improvement,
  • Maintain personal grooming, health, and work environment,
  • Accept responsibility and blame, if deserved.

More than 95% of respondents in The Baltimore Workplace Civility Study suggested, “Keep stress and fatigue at manageable levels,” a challenging goal for leaders who shape workplace cultures.

Organizationalhange recommendations include:

  • Instituting a grievance process to investigate and address complaints of incivility,
  • Selecting prospective employees with effective interpersonal skills,
  • Offering a clearly-written policy on interpersonal conduct,
  • Adopting flexibility in scheduling, assignments, and work-life issues.

-*How do you handle workplace incivility when you observe or experience it?

©Kathryn Welds

Executive Presence: “Gravitas”, Communication…and Appearance?

Executive Presence is considered essential to effectively perform in leadership roles.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Professional advancement to executive roles requires demonstrated knowledge, skill, and competence, coupled with less quantifiable “authenticity,” “cultural fit,” and “executive presence.”

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, CEO of Center for Talent Innovation, conducted 18 focus groups and 60 interviews to systematically investigate behavioral and attitudinal aspects of Executive Presence (EP).

Executive Presence accounts for more than a quarter of factors that determine a next promotion, according to participants, and includes three components:Executive Presence

Gravitas” – Authoritative Behavior

    • Confidence, composure,
    • Decisiveness,
    • Integrity,
    • Emotional Intelligence: Self-awareness, self-regulation, interpersonal skills,
    • Personal “brand” reputation,
    • Vision for leadership,

Communication

    • Speaking skills:  Voice tone, articulation, grammatical speech conveying competence,
    • Presence”, “bearing”,  “charisma” including assertiveness, humor, humility,
    • Ability to sense audience engagement, emotion, interests,

Appearance

    • Grooming, posture,
    • Physical attractiveness, normal weight,
    • Professional attire.

Harrison Monarth

Executive presence can be cultivated with Image Management, noted Harrison Monarth.

He advocated self-marketing tactics including:

-Maintaining a compelling personal “brand” to influence others’ perceptions and willingness to collaborate,

-Managing online reputation, and recovering when communications go awry,

-Effectively persuading those who disagree, and gaining followers,

-Demonstrating “Emotional Intelligence” skills of self-awareness, awareness of others (empathic insight).

He focused less on appearance as a contributor to career advancement than Hewlett and Stanford Law School’s Deborah Rhode, who summarized extensive research on Halo Effect.
Rhode and Hewlett acknowledged the impact of appearance and non-verbal behavior on various life opportunities including career advancement.

Deborah Rhode

Rhode estimated that annual world-wide investment in appearance is close to $200 billion in 2010 USD currency, and she contended that bias based on appearance:

  • Is prevalent,
  • Infringes on individuals’ fundamental rights,
  • Compromises merit principles,
  • Reinforces negative stereotypes,
  • Compounds disadvantages facing members of non-dominant races, classes, and gender.

Executive Presence is widely recognized as a prerequisite for leadership roles, yet its components remained loosely-defined until Hewlett’s systematic investigation, Monarth’s consulting-based approach, and Rhode’s legal analysis.

-*Which elements seem most essential to Executive Presence?

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©Kathryn Welds

How Much Does Appearance Matter?

Linda A. Jackson

Perceived attractiveness was correlated with perceived competence and likeability in a meta-analysis by Michigan State University’s Linda A. Jackson, John E. Hunter, and Carole N. Hodge.
Physically attractive people were seen as more intellectually competent.

Nancy Etcoff

Similarly, women who wore cosmetics were rated more highly on attractiveness, competence, likeability and trustworthiness when viewed for as little as 250 milliseconds in research by Harvard’s Nancy L. Etcoff, Lauren E. Haley, and David M. House, with Shannon Stock of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Proctor & Gamble’s Sarah A. Vickery.

Models without makeup, with natural, professional, “glamorous” makeup

However, when participants looked at the faces for a longer time, ratings for competence and attractiveness remained the same, but ratings for likeability and trustworthiness changed based on specific makeup looks.

Etcoff’s team concluded that cosmetics could influence automatic judgments because attractiveness “rivets attention, and impels actions that help ensure the survival of our genes.”

Most people recognize the bias in assuming that attractive people are competent and that unattractive people are not, yet impression management remains crucial in the workplace and in the political arena.

-*Where have you seen appearance exert an influence in workplace credibility, decision-making and role advancement?

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Women Who Express Anger Seen as Less Influential

Jessica Salerno

Jessica Salerno

Women who expressed anger were less likely to influence their peers in computer-mediated mock jury proceedings, found Arizona State University’s Jessica Salerno and Liana Peter-Hagene of University of Illinois. 

Liana Peter-Hagene

Liana Peter-Hagene

More than 200 U.S. jury-eligible volunteers reviewed opening arguments and closing statements, eyewitness testimonies, crime scene photographs, and an image of the alleged weapon in a homicide.

Participants made individual verdict choices, then exchanged instant messages by computer, with “peers” who were said to be “deliberating their verdict decisions.”

In fact, “peer” messages were scripted, with four of the fictional jurors agreeing with the participant’s verdict, and one disagreeing.
The dissenting participant had a male user name or a female user name or a gender-neutral name.

Victoria Brescoll

Victoria Brescoll

Half of the dissenting messages contained no emotion, anger, or fear, and these communications had no influence on participants’ opinions.

However, participants’ confidence in their verdict decision significantly dropped when a single “male dissenter” sent angry messages, characterized by “shouting” in all capital letters.
Confidence in the verdict decision dropped even when the vote was shared by the majority of other “jurors.”
This finding suggests the persuasive impact of a single male dissenter’s angry communication.

In contrast, volunteers became more confident in their initial verdict decisions when their vote was echoed by the majority of other participants.

This confidence was was maintained when a single female dissenter responded with angry emotional message, suggesting that “female” anger was less influential than “male” anger.

Eric Luis Uhlmann

Eric Luis Uhlmann

Male and female evaluators conferred lower status on angry female professionals compared with angry male professionals in research by Yale University’s Victoria Brescoll and Eric Luis Uhlmann, now of INSEAD.
Evaluators assigned lower status to female CEOs and to female trainees when they expressed anger.

Kristi Lewis Tyran

Kristi Lewis Tyran

Men who expressed anger in a professional context were conferred higher status than men who expressed sadness.
Likewise, women who expressed anger and sadness were rated less effective than women who shared no emotion, according to Kristi Lewis Tyran of Western Washington University.

Evaluators judged men’s angry reactions more generously, attributing these emotional expressions to external circumstances, such as experiencing pressure and demands from others.

These differing judgments of emotional expression suggest that women’s anger is more harshly evaluated because anger expressions deviate from women’s expected societal, gender, and cultural norms.

-*What impacts and consequences have you observed for women and men who express anger at work?

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Plastic Surgery Changes Perceived Personality Traits

Michael J. Reilly

Michael J. Reilly

People often infer others’ personality attributes from visual cues, called facial profiling by Georgetown University Hospital’s Michael J. Reilly, Jaclyn A. Tomsic and Steven P. Davison, collaborating with Stephen J. Fernandez of MedStar Health Research Institute.
This cognitive shortcut can lead to biased impressions and limited opportunities for those unfavorably judged.

Jaclyn A. Tomsic

Jaclyn A. Tomsic

These researchers asked raters to evaluate photographs of 30 different women shown with neutral facial expressions.

Each rater judged 10 images, including five (5) photographs before the person had plastic surgery procedures and five (5) images following surgical procedures including:

  • Chin implant,
  • Eyebrow-lift,
  • Lower blepharoplasty (lower eye lift),
  • Upper blepharoplasty (upper eye lift),
  • Neck-lift,
  • Rhytidectomy (face-lift).

Michael Reilly-Preoperative-Postoperative photos

These procedures resulted in cosmetic improvements to eyes and mouth, two regions crucial to expressing and interpreting emotions.

The raters were not informed that some people in the photos had plastic surgery procedures, and they were asked to evaluate each photograph on a 7-point scale for perceived:

  • Aggressiveness,
  • Extroversion,
  • Likeability,
  • Risk-seeking,
  • Social skills,
  • Trustworthiness,
  • Attractiveness.

Michael Reilly - Pre-Post 2Raters assigned higher scores for likeability, social skills, attractiveness, and femininity to the images following plastic surgery compared with pre-surgery image ratings.

The research team concluded:
“The eyes are highly diagnostic for attractiveness as well as for trustworthiness…patients undergoing lower (eyelid surgery) were found to be significantly more attractive and feminine, and had … improved trustworthiness...

“The corner of the mouth is … diagnostic … for … happy and surprised expressions and …  the perception of personality traits, such as extroversion.

“…upturn of the mouth and fullness in the cheeks can make a person look more intelligent and socially skilled.

“… patients undergoing a facelift procedure … are found to be significantly more likeable and socially skilled postoperatively.”

Volunteers in a different study attributed personality traits to neutral faces when they perceived a similarity to standard emotional expressions, reported Princeton’s Christopher P. Said and Alexander Todorov with Nicu Sebe of University of Trento.

Christopher P. Said

Christopher P. Said

Neutral faces that were rated as positive resembled typical facial expressions of happiness, whereas faces seen as negative resembled facial displays of disgust and fear.

Faces viewed as threatening resembled facial expressions of anger.
These trait inferences resulted from overgeneralization in emotion recognition systems.

Nicu Sebe

Nicu Sebe

Faces that resemble typical emotional expressions can lead to misattributed personality traits and biased impressions.

However, these judgments can change for the better after plastic surgery.

-*To what extent do people’s personality traits seems different following plastic surgery?

-*How often are people treated differently following plastic surgery?

*What are ways to avoid confusing emotional expressions with personality traits?

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©Kathryn Welds

Reputation Affects Women’s Promotion, Earnings

Lily Fang

Lily Fang

Sterling Huang

Men gain greater reputation and job performance benefits from professional connections than women with equivalent or better education and job skills, according to INSEAD’s Lily Fang and Sterling Huang of Singapore Management University

Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen

Fang and Huang examined U.S. equity analysts’ alumni connections with company senior officers and board members, using an approach pioneered by Harvard’s Lauren Cohen, and Christopher Malloy with Andrea Frazzini, of AQR Capital Management.

Christopher Malloy

They considered analysts’:

  • Year-end earnings per share (EPS) forecasts,
  • Buy-stock recommendations from 1993 to 2009,
  • Price impact of their recommendations,
  • Selection to “All America Research Team” (AA) by Institutional Investor magazine during the same period.
    Selection to AA is based on the institutional investors’ subjective evaluation of each analyst’s industry knowledge, communication, responsiveness, and written reports.
Andrea Frazzini

Andrea Frazzini

Forecast accuracy is one of the least important selection criteria.
Therefore, skillful analysts may be not be selected if they are not visible and well-regarded by decision-makers.

Connections directly contributed to male analysts’ likelihood of being named to the  “All America Research Team” (AA).
This relationship did not hold for female analysts, and this difference leads to significant financial consequences for male and female analysts:  AA team members earned three times more than non-team analysts.

About 25% of all analysts shared a school tie with a senior officer or board member in the firms they cover, and these connections improved men’s forecast accuracy significantly more than women’s.
These connections also improved the impact of male analysts’ stock recommendations, measured by market reaction to their buy and sell calls.

Female analysts with a connection to a female executive at covered firms significantly improved their ranking accuracy, yet male analysts with a male connection improved their ranking accuracy almost twice as much.

Herminia Ibarra

Herminia IbarraThis different impact of similar connections early in women’s and men’s careers could explain gender gaps that exist throughout career trajectories.

Herminia Ibarra’s similar results for men and women in an advertising firm demonstrated that men capitalized on network ties to improve their employment positions.

Women may remain in analytical roles even if they are capable of executive roles because promotion to General Manager roles depends on subjective evaluations by current decision makers, who are usually men.

Fang and Huang concluded that men and women may be evaluated using different subjective criteria, resulting in differential career advancement for women and men.

Ronald Burt

Ronald Burt

Career-related social connections (“social capital”) studied by Fang and Huang are affected by legitimacy, reputation, and network structures, argued University of Chicago’s Ronald Burt.
He suggested that “holes” in a social network are entrepreneurial opportunities to add value, and women who fill network holes increase their possibility of advancement.

Burt noted limitations to this approach:  “…entrepreneurial networks linked to early promotion for senior men do not work for women because women are not accepted as legitimate members of the population of highly promotable candidates.

He noted that women and minorities succeed by leveraging the network of legitimate strategic partners, suggesting the importance of sponsors for underrepresented groups. 

-How do you identify and fill “structural holes in social capital networks”?

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Activate Women’s, Minorities’ Stereotype Threat Reactance to Enhance Performance

Claude Steele

Claude Steele

Stereotype threat occurs when stereotyped group members receive expectations of the group’s expected behavior.
Typically, stereotype threat reduces performance among stereotyped group members.

Joshua Aronson

Stanford’s Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson now of NYU, helped women and African American participants resist these stereotypes.
In these conditions, participants’ performance improved more than when the researchers activated a positive shared identity.

Anthony Greenwald

Stereotypes can be invoked by “implicit primes” even when people explicitly disavowed stereotypes, found University of Washington’s Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji, then at Yale.
However, when volunteers focused on tasks, participants were less likely to render discriminatory decisions.

Laura Kray

Laura Kray

Women and men resisted stereotypic behavior in negotiations when stereotypes were elicited with explicit primes, reported University of California, Berkeley’s Laura Kray, Leigh Thompson of Northwestern, and Columbia’s Adam Galinsky.
Participants resisted gender stereotyped expectations when they activated a shared identity.

Gordon Moskowitz

Gordon Moskowitz

People can distance themselves from stereotypes with contrast primes, by providing examples that contradict a stereotype, noted Lehigh University’s Gordon B. Moskowitz and Ian W. Skurnik of University of Utah.

Ryan P. Brown

Ryan P. Brown

Men from majority groups can experience stereotype threat, explained University of Oklahoma’s Ryan P. Brown and Robert A. Josephs of University of Texas. 
Male participants performed less effectively after a positive male stereotype, 
“pressure to live up to the standard” was activated.

Robert A Josephs

Robert A Josephs

People can manage stereotype threat by explicitly mentioning the stereotype to activate stereotype resistance.
In addition, people can focus on a shared identity that transcends the stigmatized group identity, and can identifying examples that contradict the stereotype.

  • How do you manage stereotype threat for yourself and others?
  • How effective have you found activating stereotype reactance?

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Women’s Self-Advocacy: Self-Promotion and Violating the “Female Modesty” Norm

Corinne Moss-Racusin

Corinne Moss-Racusin

Some women experience anxiety when required to showcase their accomplishments and skills.
They also understand that self-promotion, personal marketing, and “selling yourself” can be required to be achieve recognition and rewards at work, particularly in the U.S..

Gender norms about “modesty” can contribute to women’s discomfort in highlighting their accomplishments.
These implicit rules advocate that women:

  • hold a moderate opinion of their skills,
  • appear humble and avoid pretentiousness,
  • disclaim personal responsibility for success,
  • accept personal responsibility for failure.
Laurie Rudman

Laurie Rudman

In contrast, many American men proactively showcase their skills, and observers see self-promoting men as “competent,” “capable,” and “confident.”
M
en who do not advertise their successes generally experience “backlash” like women who self-promote, according to Skidmore’s Corinne Moss-Racusin, Julie Phelan of Langer Research Associates, and Rutgers’ Laurie Rudman.
They concluded that anyone who behaves contrary to expected gender stereotypes may be less favorably evaluated and advance more slowly in careers.

Marie‐Hélène Budworth

Women from cultures that value cooperation, collaboration, and collective accomplishment face limited career advancement if they conform to these norms in self-promoting work cultures, found York University‘s MarieHélène Budworth and Sara L. Mann of University of Guelph.

Deborah A. Small

Deborah A. Small

Likewise, women who adhere to implicit “female modesty” expectations are less likely to ask for promotions and salary increases.
This reluctance contributed to women’s long-term pay disparity according to University of Pennsylvania’s Deborah A. Small, Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University, University of Maryland’s Michele Gelfand and Hilary Gettman.

Peter Glick

Peter Glick

However, if women violate “modesty norms,” they can experience discrimination in hiring, promotion, and wages, reported Rutgers’ Rudman and Peter Glick of Lawrence University.
Likewise, Yale’s Victoria Brescoll noted that these “norm violators” can experience other adverse interpersonal consequences.

Mark Zanna

Mark Zanna

People who violate norms typically experience physical arousal including discomfort, anxiety, fear, nervousness, perspiration, increased heart rate, reported University of Waterloo’s Mark Zanna and Joel Cooper of Princeton.

However, if participants attribute this physical activation to “excitement” rather than norm violation, they were more likely to:

  • Engage in self-promotion,
  • Express interest in self-promotion,
  • More effectively describe their accomplishments.
Jessi L Smith

Jessi L Smith

Despite women’s and some men’s career “double bind,” people can consciously communicate more effectively about their successes, demonstrated in studies by Montana State University’s Jessi L. Smith and Meghan Huntoon.

More than 75 women wrote sample essays for a merit-based scholarship valued up to USD $5,000.
One group was composed essays about their own accomplishments whereas another group wrote about another person’s accomplishments.

Andrew Elliott

Andrew Elliott

They also completed Achievement Goal Questionnaire – Revised by University of Rochester Andrew Elliot and Kou Murayama of Tokyo Institute of Technology to evaluate “performance approach” and “performance avoidance.”

The laboratory contained a black box described as a “subliminal noise generator.”
Half the volunteers were told the box produced “inaudible but potentially uncomfortable ultra-high frequency noise,” and they were later asked to evaluate “the effects of extraneous distractions on task performance.”
The remaining participants received no information about the black box.

Victoria Brescoll

Victoria Brescoll

Women who could attribute their experience to the “noise generator” produced higher-quality, more convincing descriptions of their achievements, measured by being awarded significantly higher scholarships prizes.
These women also said they were more interested in the task, which is typically associated with greater intrinsic motivation to showcase personal accomplishments.

In contrast, women who violated the “modesty” norm without reference to the “noise generator” said they:

  • Reported less interest in describing their achievements,
  • Negatively evaluated their performance,
  • Produced lower-quality essays,
  • Reported fear of failure.

Women perceived as displaying their accomplishments in essays were negatively evaluated by judges, who awarded significantly less to people wrote about their own accomplishments rather than about someone else’s.

Leon Festinger

Leon Festinger

One “workaround” for this self-promotion trap is to reciprocally advocate for colleagues.
This strategy highlights colleagues’ accomplishments as organizational policies evolve to encourage everyone’s self-promotion.
An example is Google’s self-nomination process for advancement and promotion, coupled with reminder emails to submit self-nominations.

When people redefine showcasing their professional accomplishments as “part of the job,” they tend to perform more effectively and experience less cognitive dissonance.

  • How do you manage the norm against women “bragging” and showcasing their accomplishments?

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