AbstractIn this essay I investigate the process andconnotation of stereotype threat for female leaders. First, I provide adefinition of stereotype and a short background of this phenomenon. Next, thestereotype threat model is presented which shows the cue, consequences andmoderator of stereotype threats in leadership concept. This essay attempts toreview some of the studies have been done in each section of the stereotype threatmodel for female leaders. These studies have been done to find the effect ofthe stereotype in the workplace and tasks and fields related to leadership. Introduction Seeing the highlysuccessful female leaders like Hilary Clinton and Angela Merkel, have alwaysbeen sources of inspiration for me to be a successful leader in the domain ofBusiness. Whenever I thought about leadership position, I imagine how it couldbe hard for a woman to work under pressure of stereotype threats. I chose thetopic of my Organization Behavior essay about the Stereotype Threats for WomenLeadership to review some of the studies which have been done about it and tofind the answer of some of my question about this phenomena.
On 8 March every year people celebrate theinternational women’s day. The origin of this celebration derived from theearly 20th century when women were not permitted to vote inelections of their countries. Although there are still some obstacles keepingthem away from high positions as leader, the women’s rights have augmented significantlysince then. In 2003, the European Commission commencedgathering database of numbers of female and male in key role likedecision-making in Europe. The results demonstrate that only 3% of the biggestpublicly-listed enterprise’s CEO are female, while only 7% of chairperson ofthe management committee are women. In the EU-28, two female presidents andfour female prime ministers are working in the domain of politics and infinance there is just one women, Cyprus’ Chrystalla Georghadji, who is the mainchief of central bank.
(Debatingeurope, 2015) After reviewing all these statics the mainissue comes to our mind is why the women cannot get the main decision making roles.Many studies have been done to find the probable reasons which keep women farfrom the high leadership positions, among them is the “stereotype-based” lackof suited between female’s ambitions, abilities and personalities and thosesupposed essential for impressive leadership. Seeing people as “fitting” thepresuppose idea for impressive leadership, can be influenced by expectation ofgender stereotype based and also the women can be influenced.
(Crystal L. Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015)This essay attempted to find the answer for twomain questions. The first question is what the consequences of StereotypeThreat for women are in the leadership domain. The answer of this question willdemonstrate the problem regarding to this phenomena for female leaders. Thesecond main question is how women can prevail the potential threat, since it iscrucial to find solution for decreasing the possibility of stereotype threat. Foranswering the questions, a model which had been investigated by researchers (Crystal L.
Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015) will be reviewed.The essay will be started by demonstrating the definition and background of theStereotype.
Following, in the first part of the stereotype threat model forwomen in leadership, the stereotype cues are presented. In the followingsection the consequences of the stereotype threats including theunderperformance of assigned tasks and the decreasing the sense of belongingand motivation are discussed. The last part of the model is considering the prevailingthe potential threats which are factors of individual levels and rolemodels. StereotypeThreat definition and Background Stereotype threat isdefined as the concern which happened to someone in a situation where he or shemay approve a stereotype for the group that he or she belongs. It needs somefactors, one is about the stereotype awareness of the group which person ispart of it, the other one involves the performance of the person by declininghis ability in the assigned task, and the last one is the situation in whichperson is judged based on his or her ability to deliver the relevant task the stereotype-relevanttask (Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J.
, 1995). Mostly stereotypethreat declines the task performance (Schmader, 2010). In the same manner, most of the womenwho are in charge of leadership likely to experience stereotypes threat andtheir performance decrease when they are remembered as “fashion of gender” and”Leader stereotypes”. People who belong to marginalsocial groups are always concern about the stereotype relating to theirsocial group and they know that other’s responds may be affected by thesestereotypes. Steel and Aronson in 1995 had a great investigation which led toinvent the new word of Stereotype threat. Their aim was to propose a newdefinition beyond the concept of traditional theories about the differences ingenetic matters or cultural tendency. Since then, the phenomenon of stereotypethreat has become the topic which has been worked widely in the field of socialpsychology. When people are evaluated through the glasses of negativestereotype, they concentrate more on the negative facet of this phenomenon andcause subvert the attainment.
(Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J., 1995) In their study, (Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J., 1995) implemented anexperiment which tests the ability of African American student under pressure ofintellectual inferiority. Black students performed at a lower level in compareto white students, as the result of SAT test demonstrated.
However, when theywere took part again in the test without the relevancy of stereotype, therewere no differences in the result of Black and White students for problemsolving exercise. Many studies have been investigated “the effects ofstereotype on the academic performances” for example the effects ofstereotype threat on the academic of Latino African American have beendemonstrated in. Moreover stereotype threat can affect in some other domainssuch as: white men in athletics and men in “social sensitivity task” (Crystal L. Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015)StereotypeThreat for Women in leadershipThe most harmfulresults of stereotype threat are the following decline in the engagement and incentivefor women in leadership position. Many studies have been done about thestereotype threat on women leaders, Crystal L. Hoyt1 and Susan E. Murphy2 in their study (Crystal L.
Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015) presented a modelfor understanding the impacts of this phenomena. In their model, they examine”the situational cues” which may indicate the treats, the result of stereotypethreat and the criteria that may reduce the possibilities of constructing stereotypethreat assessment and protect women from damaging effect of stereotype threat.As the fig 1 shows, they discussed the impact of “stereotypes-based”expectation on female women.
They have declared each part of their framework byreviewing many articles in the related subject. Following I will explain eachpart of this model to begin the understanding of stereotype threat. Fig1. “Model of Stereotype threat in Leadership Context” (Crystal L. Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015) Stereotypethreat cues for women leader Many cues to stereotypethreat may derive in many forms in a wide range of more blunt and clear disclosureto gender stereotype, like telling the attendees that their researcher issexist or having them keep in line with sexist man. (Adams, G.
, Garcia, D. M., Purdie-Vaughns, V., & Steele, C.
M., 2006), to a more delicateaction like just demanding someone to work in a filed which a famous stereotypeexists “in the air” (Spencer, S. J., Steele, C. M., & Quinn, D. M., 1999).
Stereotype can be acted in a subtle mannerwith different actions such as being in the “numerical minority” likebeing a female leader in a group of the men or by considering women as “thescarcity” in a firm (Hoyt, C. L., Johnson, S. K.
, Murphy, S. E., & Skinnell, K. H., 2010). Stereotypes can hurtwomen’s personalities either clearly or subtly in their leader’s positions.
Many studies proved clearly that members of various social groups performdifferently as the task assigned. Task performance may also be injured whenwomen are supposed to work under the sight of a supervisor who has some sexistattitudes (Steven Stroessner, Catherine Good, Lauren Webster, 2016). More over being in thescarcity situation, in media and environments full of male features, many cuescould endanger women’s individualities. For instance, in the study (Davies, P., Spencer, S., & Steele, C., 2005) the author showedthat disclosing the beautiful women in the commercials (e.
g. demonstrating ayoung girl for the new product of acne) may cause harmful dangers reactionsrespectfully to professional the same for leadership ambitions. To sum up, inorganizations and industries where women are not abundant, the women leader aremore likely to expose the heightened threats, inthe way which “media and masculine environment” making gender stereotypeor “in organizational cultures extolling the virtues of competition or innatebrilliance for success” (Crystal L. Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015). Consequencesof Stereotypes Threat Stereotype threat canlead to huge consequences which are usually considered as negative result.
Meaning of the term “Vulnerability Responses” is related to a range fromunderperformance to disconnecting and misidentification. GenderStereotype-based may result in decrease performance of significant tasks suchas decision making or negotiation through many fields like STEM or beingenterprising. (Crystal L. Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015) Underperformanceof the assigned taskOne of stereotypesthreat consequence is underperformance the task assigned in engineering filed.In subsequent research (Bell, A. E., Spencer, S.
J., Iserman, E., & Logel, C. E. R.
, 2003) new perspective ofthe women’s abilities in some fields which need high knowledge of math likeengineering has been demonstrated. They have tested the abilities of women incompare to men in the Fundamental of Engineering Exam with stereotypes threatand without it. The result shows that women perform worse when they are underthe pressure of stereotype threat, in contrast they perform as well as men whenthey don’t feel the stereotype threats. The auteurs discussed that thestereotype threat is an obstacle to women’s success in engineering fields. The negotiationperformance and managerial tasks can be affected through the gender stereotype.The study (Kray, Laura J.; Thompson, Leigh; Galinsky, Adam, 2001) shows men perform negotiationbetter than women when diagnostic of ability was considered as stereotypethreat.
The authors have also proved when the gender stereotypes are activateddirectly, women and men verify them, but at the same time when the stereotypesthreats are directly activated people express the opposite idea about thestereotypes. The study (Diane M. Bergeron , Caryn J. Block & Alan Echtenkamp , 2009) has investigated howstereotype may affect the managerial performance of women by designing a testin which the men and women participants implement a managerial task in thecondition of stereotypically masculine or feminine roles. The results provedthat women perform worse than men in masculine based role but not in thefeminine role based. They also explored that gender role is more moderator forthe stereotype threats.The impact of stereotypethreat on the women’s fluencies and communication skill has been examined (McGlone,M.
S.,& Pfeister, R.A., 2015). In this study, theparticipation were tested through diagnostic of their ability in a simulationframe, either as being a leader or to sustain adjacent personal relationships.The results shows that women perform less fluently and spoke more hesitantly inleadership responsibilities than relational support framing.
Decreasing the sense of belonging and motivation Stereotype threat does notlimit to decreasing the performance of the assigned tasks. It could alsodecrease the sense of women for belonging in a special domain and theirmotivation to continue in these domain. Having the social belonging sense and theabilities of being connected to a group is critical for motivation and beingsuccessful in any fields. (Davies, P., Spencer, S., & Steele, C., 2005) In some filed which traditionally are consideredas masculine domains, women usually feel a sense of “Belonging uncertainty” (Davies, P.
, Spencer, S., & Steele, C., 2005).
Stereotype treats can decrease the women’s certainty of belonging to asocial group and subvert their motivation and interest for pursuing in thefield. In the study (Geoffrey L. Cohen, Julio Garcia, 2008) “model ofidentity engagement” has been presented which explains how a target socialidentity can activate the psychological threat and the belonging worries andhow these could lead to decrease performances persistently. Similarly, somestereotype threat like TV commercials may lead to persuade women to preventleadership responsibilities and tend to some subordinate roles with nothreats. TV commercials demonstrate somegender stereotype which can affect the women’s attitude about their future career.
To examine their effect, a group of women had been exposed to gender stereotypeTV commercials to bring out the female stereotype. The result proved thatwomen’s aspiration for being a leader could be undermined when they areexposure to these stereotype commercials. It is also suggested that in order toremoving the vulnerability, an identity safe environment should be extended. (Davies, Paul G.; Spencer, Steven J.; Steele, Claude M., 2005)Prevailingthe potential threats Many studies about the stereotype threat havebeen done to recognize the factors which cause reduction in the stereotypethreat reactions or reducing the potential of making stereotype threatassessment in the first step. Thus, in this section I will review the factorswhich help women to be more impenetrable in responding to negative stereotypeexpectations.
Furthermore, I will consider the factors which decrease the potentialthat women will be judged and behaved miserably according to a negativestereotype. These factors varied in different levels from the organizational,the situational, the social and the individual. (Crystal L. Hoyt, Susan E. Murphy, 2015) Factors of Individual-level Whether women see the potential threat to theirperformance and personality with vulnerability or reactance respond, rely onthe factors of individual levels which are their perceptions about themselvesas being able to improve leadership skills. As an example, it has been provedthat when women rated themselves low on characteristic stereotype related tothe leadership roles such as independence and aggressiveness, decreased theirperformance in the stereotype threat situations.
Generally, there are someindividual differences which support women’s attitude that they are able to besuccessful leader, such as leadership capability, attitudes and self-efficacyabout the perception of leadership. These individual differences are crucial toprotect women harmful threat effects. (Bergeron, D. M., Block, C. J., & Echtenkamp, A.
, 2006)In leadership domain, it has been proved thatwomen who were very confident about their leadership abilities and ratedthemselves high mark in self-efficacy of leadership, reacted positively inresponding to gender- leadership stereotype on an assignment which requiredwomen to counsel and prompt the employees on a faked hiring board.Particularly, women who had high level of self-efficacy implemented better,recognized more the leadership field, and they provided wonderful levels ofpsychological welfare. (Murphy, 1992)Role Models Beyond factors pf individual-levels precise foreach woman, whether a woman sees threats to her personality susceptibility or respondsdirectly or whether she is impenetrable against threats depends uponsignificant social factors.
Specially, role models have an important effect inleadership roles by defending women against threats to their identity. The rolemodels demonstrate that success in the domain with stereotype threat isreachable. They can also raise the feeling of social being and inseminate thesense of people’s self against identity threats. (Dasgupta, 2011) In India the researcher has been investigatedthe effect of female roles in rising the women’s motivation. Using a genderupper limit law that provided leadership job opportunities for women, andimplemented this law in randomly implemented villages, they have found thatincreasing the number of women as the leader in the board of Indian villagecaused in more jobs and educational ambition for the girls of the villages andremoved the gender gap in educational achievement and the girls were passedless time on household work. (Lori Beaman, Esther Duflo2, Rohini Pande3, Petia Topalova, 2012)Role models can lead in opposing results. Althoughrole models could play a key role in inspiring women who compare themselves to successfulwomen, it has the potential for getting “self-deflating” of capability.
Forinstance, seeing the successful business women as leadership has beendemonstrated to reduce women’s abilities self-rating. (Parks-Stamm, E. J., Heilman, M. E., & Hearns, K. A.
, 2008) This study alsoshows that females tend to punish the successful women to reduce theself-evaluative result of interpersonal comparing with a significant successfulwomen goal. Role models are able to slow down the harmfuleffects of stereotype threat in leadership domain. In a recent study, 149 maleand female students were supposed to give a public speech while they were nakedto the photos of Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, or no picture.With objective of measuring the empowered manner in a stressful leadershipassignment, they recorded the length of the speeches and quality of speechesalso rated by independent raters. When women saw the picture of Bill Clinton,they spoke less than men, on the other hand they spoke more when the pictures ofHillary Clinton or Angela Merkel were presented. The results showedconsiderable distinctions when women were exposed to female role models incompare to masculine or no role models. The authorize manner also reflected theinfluence of female role models on how women evaluated themselves in theirperformances.
In sum, exposing to very successful feminine leaders can besource of inspiration for female’s manner and self-evaluation in implementing stressfulleadership tasks. (Latu, I.M., M., SchmidMast, Lammers, J., & Bombari, D., 2013) Conclusion This essay has mainly focused on the effects ofthe stereotype threats on female leaders. Women often know that their behaviorsas a leader may be depended upon their gender.
Specially, female leaders mayhave more increased threats when trying to get a leadership position inindustries and organization where there are not women as many as the men. Alsowomen may experience more difficulties where in the physical environment andmedia the gender stereotype threats are made noticeable or in someorganizational cultures praising the goodness of competition. After reviewing some researches in thestereotype domain, the two main questions of the essay were answered. The firstquestion was about how stereotype main affect the performance of the femaleleaders, the studies show that stereotype may decrease the performance of womenin leadership domain. Some of the cues were also mentioned that activate theconcerns about the stereotype based, the other aspect of stereotype threatconsequence is decreasing the sense of belonging to the group. Following, the second question was about howwomen can prevail stereotype threat. Some solutions were presented forprotecting women against the stereotype threat like factors ofindividuals-level. These factors proved that if women have self-confidenceabout their jobs as leader, they can buffer from potential harmful effects ofstereotype threats.
Moreover, Role Model can play a key role in inspiring womento achieve their future ambitious jobs. As this essay has been shown, the stereotypethreats effects are depending on the scope which female consider themselves asowning or being capable to improve, leadership skills. Programs focused onimproving women’s leadership skills and identity of leaders, have a significantpotential to help women in minimizing the effect of stereotype effects. 1 Jepson School of Leadership Studies andDepartment of Psychology, University of Richmond, USA2 Business School, University of Edinburgh, UK