Office space

Men feel threatened by female bosses (without even realizing it)

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A new study published last week in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that men unconsciously feel threatened by their female bosses, causing them to advocate for their own self-interest more aggressively. The researchers used small experiments to see whether men were implicitly threatened by a female boss, using two cyber-simulated workplace tasks: negotiating a salary and splitting a bonus. The gender of the manager turned out to play a major role for male participants, they found. When negotiating a salary offer of $28,500, their mean counter-offer to male managers would be $42,870 compared to $49,400 for a female manager. Women, on the other hand — often found to be less confident negotiators — would give a much lower mean counter-offer of $41,636, to both male and female managers. Using a word association test developed to measure implicit biases, researchers concluded that men who pushed for larger salaries were likely feeling threatened by a woman whose role defied traditional gender norms. Other results from the experiments found that men were less likely to divide a bonus fairly with female than male leaders, and that certain leadership traits related with “power and authority” in women would elicit more assertive responses from men than more “feminine” traits as nurturing and cooperation. So while many men would not dislike the idea of a female manager theoretically, the reality is more complicated, according to Leah Sheppard, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of management at Washington State University. “There are plenty of men out there who could very much believe in the cause of gender equality, but … still feel threatened.” she told Mashable.  “When they’re picturing their lives in their company, they may not imagine having a female manager. They could be experiencing a threat they don’t want to feel.”

Read the full story at Mashable.

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