Getting credit for proactivity? The effects of gender

  • With our research, we contribute to the research on proactive work behavior in two ways. First, we examine a person's gender as a boundary condition for proactive behavior at work. Based on social role theory, we argue that women are less likely to receive credit for showing personal initiative (PI) than men. Second, we examine agency and communion as underlying mechanisms that translate PI into a person's evaluation and drive backlash effects. The hypotheses were tested in two complementary experimental studies (Study 1; N = 114, Study 2: N = 163) using simulated job interviews. Our results show that PI relates to better evaluations (likeability, perceived competence, performance evaluations, expected success and hireability) of the job applicant and that these effects are mediated by agency and communion. Further, we find backlash effects for women high in agency and men high in communion on likeability (Study 2). The implications of these results for organizations and future research are discussed.

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Author:Alina S. Hernandez Bark, Kseniya Seliverstova, Sandra Ohly
Parent Title (English):Journal of applied social psychology
Place of publication:Oxford [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/09/02
Date of first Publication:2021/09/02
Publishing Institution:Universit├Ątsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/01/13
Tag:backlash effect; gender role theory; gender stereotypes; personal initiative; proactive work behavior
Issue:online version before inclusion in an issue
Page Number:16
First Page:1
Last Page:16
Early View: Online Version before inclusion in an issue
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 4.0