University Study Finds Women Managers Who Hire Other Women Are Likely to Be Rated Less Competent

coloradouniversityA new study, led by researchers at the Leeds School of Business at University of Colorado at Boulder, included an experiment where hundreds of participants were asked to evaluate a fictional hiring decision by a manager in a corporate setting. Participants read a description of the hiring decision that included a photo of the manager. They were then given a questionnaire about the hiring decision.

The results showed that women managers were rated as less effective when they hired a woman for the open position than women managers who hired a man for the post. For male managers, there was no difference in competency rating on whether they hired a man or a woman.

The results led the authors to conclude that “for all the talk about how important diversity is within organizations, males aren’t rewarded career-wise, for engaging in diversity-valuing behavior, and female executives actually get punished for it.”

The authors write that “it’s risky for low-status group members to help others like them. And this can lead to women choosing not to advocate for other women once they reach positions of power, as they don’t want to be perceived as incompetent.”

stefStefanie K. Johnson, an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship is a coauthor of the study, which was recently published in the Academy of Management Journal. She joined the faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014 after teaching at the University of Colorado-Denver, Colorado State University, and the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College in California, where she majored in psychology. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

 The study, “Does Diversity-Valuing Behavior Result in Diminished Performance Ratings for Nonwhite and Female Leaders?,” was published on the website of the Academy of Management Journal. It may be accessed here.

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