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Implicit gender stereotypes in the workplace context: communication, behavioral confirmation, and detection

Applicant Latu Ioana
Number 142392
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution IPTO - Institut de Psychologie du Travail et des Organisations Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.09.2012 - 31.08.2014
Approved amount 311'650.00
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Keywords (6)

performance; nonverbal; gender; stereotypes; workplace; implicit

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Compared to men, the number of women in top leadership positions is still relatively small, both in Switzerland (18.86% of director positions) and in the United States (14.1% of executive officer positions). It seems that, despite clear advancements made in western countries, women are still at a disadvantage in the workplace. The persistence of gender bias in the workplace may be explained, in part, by existing stereotypes of women in managerial domains. Although explicit, self-reported stereotypes have become increasingly positive (Duehr & Bono, 2006), negative views of women persist at an implicit (relatively unconscious) level. For example, in two studies my collaborators and I found that women are more likely than men to be associated implicitly with managerial incompetence, while men are more likely than women to be associated with managerial competence (Latu et al., 2011).

How important are these implicit stereotypes in determining behavior? In the current studies I am investigating (a) how implicit stereotypes of women’s competence are expressed in the nonverbal behavior of the person holding these stereotypes, (b) how implicit stereotypes affect the performance of the female targets of these stereotypes, and (c) how accurate external judges are at assessing such implicit stereotypes.

Research on implicit bias towards Blacks suggests that implicit bias is leaked through nonverbal behaviors that denote lack of friendliness or comfort (Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002). However, these findings can not be generalized to bias against women for one important reason: while racial bias includes both negative affect and negative stereotypes of Blacks, the affective and stereotypical components of gender bias tend not to converge. Men feel positively towards women overall (positive implicit evaluations; e.g., Skowronski & Lawrence, 2001), however they negatively stereotype women once in the managerial domain (negative implicit gender-managerial stereotypes; e.g., Latu et al., 2011). Thus, different nonverbal behaviors may be displayed in a social interaction when a man has negative implicit stereotypes of women, compared to when a White has negative implicit evaluations of Blacks.

In a first study I will investigate which nonverbal behaviors correlate with implicit gender-managerial stereotypes during a mixed-gender social interaction which is set in a workplace context. I will measure male participants’ implicit stereotypes of women in managerial domains using a response-time task (sequential priming task). Afterwards, in a seemingly unrelated study, male participants will interact successively with a female and male confederate. Independent coders (blind to the participants’ implicit stereotyping level) will evaluate several nonverbal behaviors. I predict that in an interaction with a woman, male participants who implicitly think that women are incompetent managers (strong implicit stereotypes) may speak longer, interrupt the woman more, have a more open or dominant body posture, nod less and frown more while the woman is speaking, and present certain speech-related characteristics linked to dominance (louder voice, greater voice variability, more voice relaxation, and less filled pauses). Building on this initial study, I plan to investigate how one’s power position affects the extent to which their implicit stereotypes are expressed in their nonverbal behaviors. Consistent with the literature that shows that power increases stereotyping (Fiske, 1993), I suspect that implicit stereotypes will be more strongly related to nonverbal behaviors related to implicit stereotypes when the male participant is in the higher compared to lower power position.

In a second study I plan to extend the investigation to both members of the interaction dyad, by studying how the implicit gender-managerial stereotypes of a male recruiter influence his nonverbal behaviors during a job interview, and, in turn, how these nonverbal behaviors affect the performance of a female candidate during the job interview (this time a naïve participant and not a confederate). I expect that implicit gender-managerial stereotypes of a recruiter will predict the performance of a female candidate, such that candidates being interviewed by a recruiter with negative stereotypes of women in managerial domains will perform worse.

In a third study, using the video recordings collected in the first studies, I will cut short silent clips (20s) and present them to male and female external judges. I will ask judges to guess the level of implicit stereotyping of the person depicted in the video. I predict that women will be more accurate than men at judging men’s implicit gender-managerial stereotypes from such minimal information. If external viewers can judge from minimal nonverbal information one’s implicit stereotyping level, it shows that these nonverbals are very powerful and pervasive in social interactions. Also, if women are indeed better at making these judgments, this finding would show that detecting men’s implicit stereotypes is adaptive, as it may protect against this subtle form of bias.

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
En route pour le succès: Défis et solutions pour femmes leaders [On the way to the top: challenges and solutions for female leaders]
Latu I. M. & Schmid Mast M. (2013), En route pour le succès: Défis et solutions pour femmes leaders [On the way to the top: challenges and solutions for female leaders], in Success and Career, n/a.
Gender and Emotion: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
Latu I. M. Schmid Mast M. & Kaiser S (2013), Gender and Emotion: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Peter Lang, Bern, Switzerland.
Images des femmes: comment les stéréotypes de genre influencent les femmes sur leur lieu de travail [Images of women: How gender stereotypes influence women in the workplace].
Latu I.M. (2013), Images des femmes: comment les stéréotypes de genre influencent les femmes sur leur lieu de travail [Images of women: How gender stereotypes influence women in the workplace]., in Punktum, n/a.
Successful female leaders empower women’s behavior in leadership tasks.
Latu I. M. Schmid Mast M. Lammers J. & Bombari D (2013), Successful female leaders empower women’s behavior in leadership tasks., in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,, 49, 444-448.
White privilege awareness and efficacy to reduce racial inequality improve White Americans’ attitudes toward African Americans
Stewart T. L. Latu I. M. Branscombe N. R. Phillips N. L. & Denney H. T. (2012), White privilege awareness and efficacy to reduce racial inequality improve White Americans’ attitudes toward African Americans, in Journal of Social Issues, 11-27.
Nonverbal communication and social power
Hall J. Latu I.M. Carney D. & Schmid Mast M, Nonverbal communication and social power, in J.T. Cheng J.L. Tracy and C. Anderson (ed.), Springer, New York, in press.
The vertical dimension of social relations and accurate interpersonal perception: A Meta-Analysis
Hall Judy, Schmid Mast Marianne, Latu Ioana, The vertical dimension of social relations and accurate interpersonal perception: A Meta-Analysis, in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, in press.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Judith Hall, Northeastern University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Sabine Sczesny, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Joris Lammers, Cologne University Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Tracie Stewart, University of Mississippi United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
workshop Men and women in social hierarchies Talk given at a conference The Effects of Stereotypes on Women in Male-Dominated Hierarchies 20.03.2014 University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland Latu Ioana;
Society for Personality and Social Psychology Poster Embodied empowerment: Female role models empower women in leadership tasks through body posture mimicry. 14.02.2014 Austin, Texas, United States of America Latu Ioana;
Nonverbal Preconference at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Talk given at a conference Embodied empowerment: Female role models empower women in leadership tasks through body posture mimicry 13.02.2014 Austin, TX, United States of America Latu Ioana;
The Vulnerability of Patients: Implications of the ‘Special Protection Thesis’ for health care institutions and tackling implicit bias in health care professionals Talk given at a conference ). Implicit gender biases in interactions between unequal players. Paper presented at the conference 24.09.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Latu Ioana;
13th Congress of the Swiss Psychological Society Talk given at a conference Intergroup biases in the context of power, status, and leadership 11.09.2013 Basel, Switzerland Latu Ioana;
The Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Poster Implicit behavioral confirmation in job interviews: Male recruiters’ implicit gender stereotypes (but not attitudes) decrease performance self-evaluations of female applicants 18.01.2013 New Orleans, LA, United States of America Latu Ioana;


Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
ImpacTalks 26.02.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media ImpacTalk International 2014
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) En route pour le succès: Défis et solutions pour femmes leaders in Success and Career Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Images des femmes comment les stéréotypes de genre influencent les femmes in Punktum Western Switzerland 2013

Abstract

Compared to men, the number of women in top leadership positions is still relatively small, both in Switzerland (18.86% of director positions) and in the United States (14.1% of executive officer positions). The gender pay gap also remains quite large: the typical European female worker earned 17.1% less than the typical male worker in 2009 (Eurostat, 2011). Thus, despite clear advancements made in western countries, women are still at a disadvantage in the workplace. Different explanations have been proposed for the persistence of gender bias in the workplace (Eagly & Carli, 2007), including stereotypes of women in managerial domains. Although explicit, self-reported stereotypes have become increasingly positive (Duehr & Bono, 2006), negative views of women persist at an implicit (relatively unconscious) level. For example, in two studies my collaborators and I found that women are more likely than men to be associated implicitly with unsuccessful manager traits, while men are more likely than women to be associated with successful manager traits (Latu et al., 2011) How important are these implicit stereotypes in determining behavior? So far, we know that they affect some hypothetical decisions in the workplace context. For example, people with negative stereotypes of women allocated higher salary increases to men than women in a hypothetical managerial task (Latu et al., 2011). What we do not know, however, is how these implicit gender-managerial stereotypes are expressed or “leaked” into one’s nonverbal behavior during an actual social interaction. Research on racial bias has shown that implicit bias towards Blacks is leaked through nonverbal behaviors that denote lack of friendliness or comfort (Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002). However, these findings can not be generalized to bias against women for one important reason: while racial bias includes both negative affect and negative stereotypes of Blacks, the affective and stereotypical components of gender bias tend not to converge. Men feel positively towards women overall (positive implicit evaluations; e.g., Skowronski & Lawrence, 2001), however they negatively stereotype women once in the managerial domain (negative implicit gender-managerial stereotypes; e.g., Latu et al., 2011). Thus, different nonverbal behaviors may be displayed in a social interaction when a man has negative implicit stereotypes of women compared to when a White has negative implicit evaluations of Blacks. In a first study I will investigate which nonverbal behaviors correlate with implicit gender-managerial stereotypes during a mixed-gender social interaction which is set in a workplace context. I will measure male participants’ implicit stereotypes of women in managerial domains. Afterwards, in a seemingly unrelated task, male participants will interact successively with a female and male confederate. Independent coders (blind to the participants’ implicit stereotyping level) will evaluate several nonverbal behaviors of the male participants. I will choose behaviors that, based on the nonverbal literature, I suspect to be reliably related to implicit gender-managerial stereotypes. For example, I predict that in an interaction with a woman, male participants who implicitly think that women are incompetent managers (strong implicit stereotypes) may speak longer, interrupt more, have a more open or dominant body posture, nod less and frown more while the woman is speaking, and present certain speech-related characteristics linked to dominance (louder voice, greater voice variability, more voice relaxation, and less filled pauses). Building on this initial study, I plan to investigate how one’s power position affects the extent to which their implicit stereotypes are expressed in their nonverbal behaviors. More precisely, in an identical social interaction, I will manipulate male participant’s status, such that they are either a superior interacting with female and male subordinates, or a subordinate interacting with female and male superiors. Consistent with the literature that shows that power increases stereotyping (Fiske, 1993), I suspect that implicit stereotypes will be more strongly related to nonverbal behaviors related to stereotypes (as determined in the initial study) when the participant is in the higher compared to lower power position. In a second study I plan to extend the investigation to both members of the interaction dyad, by studying how the implicit gender-managerial stereotypes of a male recruiter influence his nonverbal behaviors during a job interview, and, in turn, how these nonverbal behaviors affect the performance of a female candidate during the job interview (this time a naïve participant and not a confederate). I expect that implicit gender-managerial stereotypes of a recruiter will predict the performance of a female candidate, such that candidates being interviewed by a recruiter with negative stereotypes of women in managerial domains will perform worse. Such behavioral confirmation of implicit stereotypes has never been investigated within the context of a real social interaction, by studying how one’s implicit stereotypes covary in real time with the stereotype target’s behavior. In a third study, using the video recordings collected in the first studies, I will cut short silent clips (20s) and present them to male and female external judges. I will ask judges to guess the level of implicit stereotyping of the person depicted in the video. I predict that women will be more accurate than men at judging men’s implicit gender-managerial stereotypes from such minimal information. The findings of these studies have theoretical importance. If external viewers can judge from minimal nonverbal information one’s implicit stereotyping level, it shows that these nonverbals are very powerful and pervasive in social interactions. Also, if women are indeed better at making these judgments, this finding would show that detecting men’s implicit stereotypes is adaptive, as it may protect against this subtle form of bias. It is also of practical importance to study how men’s implicit gender-managerial stereotypes affect nonverbal behaviors and women’s performance. Men tend to feel positively towards women; however it is managerial stereotypes that tend to be negative. Thus, if we were to apply the implicit racial bias findings which show that bias leaks into nonverbal behaviors related to friendliness, we would miss an important aspect of mixed-gender interactions - nonverbal behaviors that indirectly communicate to women that they are incompetent and unlikely to succeed in managerial domains. The current studies will provide the necessary answers about what these specific nonverbal behaviors are, when they are more likely to emerge, and how they affect women’s behaviors in actual interactions.
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