Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Employee reactions to supervision and work evaluation as a function of subordinate and manager sex

  • 107 Accesses

  • 12 Citations


The influence of sex of manager and sex of subordinate on subordinates' reactions to supervision and work evaluation was examined. Attitude data from 463 office employees were analyzed within an ANOVA framework. There were 296 female subordinates and 35 male subordinates working under women managers and 111 female subordinates and 21 males subordinates working under men managers. The hypothesized interaction effect for sex of manager and sex of subordinate on reactions to supervision and work evaluation was supported in only one of four tests. Male subordinates working for male managers were least likely to understand how their performance was evaluated. There were no significant results when subordinate ratings of general supervision, performance ratings, and manager favoritism were used as dependent variables. The results are discussed in terms of sex-role stereotypes and actual job behaviors of men and women managers.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adams, E. F. A multivarite study of subordinate perceptions of and attitudes toward minority and majority managers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1978, 63(3): 277–288.

  2. Bartol, K. M. The sex structuring of organizations: A search for possible causes, Academy of Management Review, 1978, 3, 805–815.

  3. Bartol, K. M., & Wortman, M. S. Sex of leader and subordinate role stress: A field study. Sex Roles, 1979, 5, 513–518.

  4. Brown, S. M. Male versus female leaders: A comparison of empirical studies. Sex Roles, 1979, 5, 595–611.

  5. Cattell, R. B. The scree test for the number of factors. Multivariate Behavior Research, 1966, 1, 245–276.

  6. Ezell, H. F., Odewahn, C. A., & Sherman, J. D. Being supervised by a woman: Does it make a difference? Paper presented at the 40th meeting of the Academy of Management, Detroit, August 1980.

  7. Gupta, N., Beehr, T. A., & Jenkins, G. D. The relationship between employee gender and supervisor-subordinate cross ratings. Paper presented at the 40th meeting of the Academy of Management, Detroit, August 1980.

  8. Haccoun, D. M., Haccoun, R. R., & Sallay, G. Sex differences in the appropriateness of supervisory styles: A non-management view. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1978, 63(1), 124–127.

  9. Hansen, P. Sex differences in supervision. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, New Orleans, September 1974.

  10. Heilman, M. E., & Kram, K. Self-derogating behavior in women — fixed or flexible: The effects of co-worker's sex. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 1978, 22, 497–507.

  11. Inderlied, S. D., & Powell, G. Sex-role identity and leadership style: Different labels for the same construct? Sex Roles, 1979, 5, 613–615.

  12. Jacobson, M. B., Antonelli, J., Winning, P. U., & Opeil, D. Women as authority figure: The use and non-used of authority. Sex Roles, 1977, 3, 365–375.

  13. Jacobson, M. B., & Koch, W. Women as leaders: Performance evaluation as a function of method of leader selection. Organizational Behavior and Human Performances, 1977, 20, 149–157.

  14. Larwood, L., & Lockheed, M. Women as managers: Toward second generation research. Sex Roles, 1979, 5, 659–666.

  15. Meyer, H. H., Kay,E., & French, J. R. P., Jr. Split roles in performance appraisal. Harvard Business Review, 1965, 43, 123–129.

  16. McGregor, D. An uneasy look at performance appraisal. Harvard Business Review, 1957, 35, 89–94.

  17. Mulaik, S. A. The foundations of factor analysis. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972.

  18. Nunnally, J. C. Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972.

  19. Osborn, R. N., & Vicars, W. M. Sex stereotypes: An artifact in leader behavior and subordinate satisfaction analysis. Academy of Management Journal, 1976, 19, 439–449.

  20. Petty, M. M., & Lee, G. K., Jr. Moderating effects of sex of supervisor and subordinate on relationships between supervisory behavior and subordinate satisfaction, Journal of Applied Psychology, 1975, 60, 624–628.

  21. Petty, M. M., & Miles, R. H. Leader sex-role stereotyping in a female dominated work culture. Personnel Psychology, 1976, 29, 393–404.

  22. Rosen, B., & Jerdee, T. H. The influence of sex-role stereotypes on evaluation of male and female supervisory behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, 1973, 57, 44–48.

  23. Szilagyi, A. D. Reward behavior by male and female leaders: A causal inference analysis, Journal of Vocational Behavior 1980, 17, 59–72.

  24. Terborg, J. R. Women in management: A research review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1977, 62(6), 647–664.

  25. Terborg, J. R., Peters, L. H., Ilgen, D. R., & Smith, F. Organizational and personal correlates of attitudes toward women as managers. Academy of Management Journal, 1977, 20, 89–100.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to James R. Terborg.

Additional information

This study was supported in part through Grant No. N00014-78-C-0756 from the Office of Naval Research, James R. Terborg, principal investigator.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Terborg, J.R., Shingledecker, P. Employee reactions to supervision and work evaluation as a function of subordinate and manager sex. Sex Roles 9, 813–824 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00290032

Download citation


  • Interaction Effect
  • Performance Rating
  • Social Psychology
  • Work Evaluation
  • Attitude Data