Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 80, Issue 9–10, pp 565–577 | Cite as

The Trials of Women Leaders in the Workforce: How a Need for Cognitive Closure can Influence Acceptance of Harmful Gender Stereotypes

  • Conrad BaldnerEmail author
  • Antonio Pierro
Original Article
  • 450 Downloads

Abstract

Women leaders in the workforce are adversely affected by two sets of stereotypes: women are warm and communal but leaders are assertive and competent. This mismatch of stereotypes can lead to negative attitudes toward women leaders, however, not all individuals will be equally sensitive to these stereotypes. Men and women characterized by a need for cognitive closure (the desire for stable and certain knowledge) should be particularly sensitive to these stereotypes because they can be stable knowledge sources. We hypothesized that (a) negative attitudes toward women leaders in the workforce would vary with individuals’ need for closure, independent of their gender, and that (b) binding moral foundations (a concern for the larger group and its norms and standards) would mediate this association. In two studies, MTurk workers completed measures of negative attitudes toward women managers (Study 1, n = 149), stereotyped beliefs of women as not wanting or deserving high status positions in the workforce (Study 2, n = 207), as well as need for cognitive closure, moral foundations, social desirability, gender, and political orientation. Our results were consistent with our hypotheses and suggest that attitudes toward woman managers can reflect acceptance of pre-existent norms. If these norms can be changed, then changes in attitudes could follow.

Keywords

Anti-women attitudes Stereotypes Leadership Need for cognitive closure Moral foundations 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors did not use any external funding sources, nor did they have any conflicts of interest to report. Informed consent was obtained from participants.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_953_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 33.3 kb)

References

  1. Allport, G. (1954). The nature of prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  2. Altemeyer, B. (1988). Enemies of freedom: Understanding right-wing authoritarianism. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, C. (2014). Stereotyping and women's roles in leadership positions. Industrial and Commercial Training, 46(6), 332–337.  https://doi.org/10.1108/ICT-04-2014-0020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baldner, C., Pierro, A., Chernikova, M., & Kruglanski, A. W. (in press). When and why do liberals and conservatives think alike? An investigation into need for cognitive closure, the binding moral foundations, and political perception. Social Psychology.Google Scholar
  5. Bastian, B., & Haslam, N. (2006). Psychological essentialism and stereotype endorsement. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42(2), 228–235.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2005.03.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brooks, J. (2017). Four women leaders share thoughts on gender and security. Retrieved from https://www.dvidshub.net/news/236338/four-women-leaders-share-thoughts-gender-and-security.
  7. Cordano, M., Scherer, R. F., & Owen, C. L. (2003). Dimensionality of the women as managers scale: Factor congruency among three samples. The Journal of Social Psychology, 143(1), 141–143.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00224540309598436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costello, A. B., & Osborne, J. W. (2005). Best practices in exploratory factor analysis: Four recommendations for getting the most from your analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 10(7), 1–9.Google Scholar
  9. Davies, C. L., Sibley, C. G., & Liu, J. H. (2014). Confirmatory factor analysis of the moral foundations questionnaire: Independent scale validation in a New Zealand sample. Social Psychology, 45(6), 431–436.  https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dijksterhuis, A. P., Van Knippenberg, A. D., Kruglanski, A. W., & Schaper, C. (1996). Motivated social cognition: Need for closure effects on memory and judgment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 32(3), 254–270.  https://doi.org/10.1006/jesp.1996.0012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eagly, A. H., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological Review, 109(3), 573–598.  https://doi.org/10.1037//0033-295X.109.3.573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Echterhoff, G., Kopietz, R., & Higgins, E. T. (2017). Shared reality in intergroup communication: Increasing the epistemic authority of an out-group audience. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(6), 806–825.  https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Federico, C. M., Ekstrom, P., Tagar, M. R., & Williams, A. L. (2016). Epistemic motivation and the structure of moral intuition: Dispositional need for closure as a predictor of individualizing and binding morality. European Journal of Personality, 30(3), 227–239.  https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J., Glick, P., & Xu, J. (2002). A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 878–902.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.82.6.878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fiske, S. T., Xu, J., Cuddy, A. C., & Glick, P. (1999). (dis) respecting versus (dis) liking: Status and interdependence predict ambivalent stereotypes of competence and warmth. Journal of Social Issues, 55(3), 473–489.  https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fritz, M. S., & MacKinnon, D. P. (2007). Required sample size to detect the mediated effect. Psychological Science, 18(3), 233–239.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01882.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Giacomantonio, M., Pierro, A., Baldner, C., & Kruglanski, A. (2017). Need for closure, torture, and punishment motivations. Social Psychology, 48(6), 335–347.  https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000321.
  18. Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2008). The moral foundations questionnaire. Retrieved from http://MoralFoundations.org.
  19. Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(5), 1029–1046.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Graham, L. (2017). Women take up just 9 percent of senior IT leadership roles, survey finds. CNBC.com. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/22/women-take-up-just-9-percent-of-senior-it-leadership-roles-survey-finds.html.
  21. Gray, K., & Schein, C. (2012). Two minds vs. two philosophies: Mind perception defines morality and dissolves the debate between deontology and utilitarianism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 3, 1–19.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-012-0112-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gray, K., Schein, C., & Ward, A. F. (2014). The myth of harmless wrongs in moral cognition: Automatic dyadic completion from sin to suffering. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 1600–1615.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Güney, S., Gohar, R., Akıncı, S. K., & Akıncı, M. M. (2013). Attitudes toward women managers in Turkey and Pakistan. Journal of International Women's Studies, 8(1), 194–211.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11274-015-1903-5.Google Scholar
  24. Haidt, J., & Graham, J. (2007). When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize. Social Justice Research, 20(1), 98–116.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11211-007-0034-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haines, E. L., Deaux, K., & Lofaro, N. (2016). The times they are a-changing… or are they not? A comparison of gender stereotypes, 1983–2014. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40(3), 353–363.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684316634081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2007). The moral mind: How five sets of innate intuitions guide the development of many culture-specific virtues, and perhaps even modules. In P. Carruthers, S. Laurence, & S. Stich (Eds.), The innate mind (Vol. 3, pp. 367–391). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  28. Javalgi, R. R. G., Scherer, R., Sánchez, C., Pradenas Rojas, L., Parada Daza, V., Hwang, C. E., & Yan, W. (2011). A comparative analysis of the attitudes toward women managers in China, Chile, and the USA. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 6(3), 233–253.  https://doi.org/10.1108/17468801111144067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jost, J. T., & Amodio, D. M. (2012). Political ideology as motivated social cognition: Behavioral and neuroscientific evidence. Motivation and Emotion, 36(1), 55–64.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-011-9260-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jost, J. T., Kruglanski, A. W., & Simon, L. (1999). Effects of epistemic motivation on conservatism, intolerance and other system-justifying attitudes. In L. L. Thompson, J. M. Levine, & D. M. Messnick (Eds.), Shared cognition in organizations: The management of knowledge (pp. 91–116). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Koenig, A. M., Eagly, A. H., Mitchell, A. A., & Ristikari, T. (2011). Are leader stereotypes masculine? A meta-analysis of three research paradigms. Psychological Bulletin, 137(4), 616–642.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Iyer, R., Ditto, P. H., & Haidt, J. (2012). Tracing the threads: How five moral concerns (especially purity) help explain culture war attitudes. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(2), 184–194.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2012.01.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kruglanski, A. W. (1996a). Motivated social cognition: Principles of the interface. In E. T. Higgins & A. W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 493–520). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kruglanski, A. W. (1996b). Motivated closing of the mind: “Seizing” and “freezing”. Psychological Review, 103(2), 263–283.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.103.2.263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kruglanski, A. W., & Webster, D. M. (1996). Motivated closing of the mind: '“Seizing” and “freezing”. Psychological Review, 103, 263–283.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.103.2.263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kruglanski, A. W., Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., & De Grada, E. (2006). Groups as epistemic providers: Need for closure and the unfolding of group-centrism. Psychological Review, 113(1), 84–100.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.113.1.84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Livi, S., Kruglanski, A. W., Pierro, A., Mannetti, L., & Kenny, D. A. (2015). Epistemic motivation and perpetuation of group culture: Effects of need for cognitive closure on trans-generational norm transmission. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 129, 105–112.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2014.09.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Makwana, A. P., Dhont, K., Akhlaghi-Ghaffarokh, P., Masure, M., & Roets, A. (2017). The motivated cognitive basis of transphobia: The roles of right-wing ideologies and gender role beliefs. Sex Roles, 1–12.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0860-x.
  39. Marcus, G. (2004). The birth of the mind. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  40. McCoy, S. K., & Major, B. (2007). Priming meritocracy and the psychological justification of inequality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(3), 341–351.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2006.04.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McKinsey & Company. (2016). Women in the workplace 2016. San Francisco, CA: Author. Retrieved from https://womenintheworkplace.com.
  42. Peters, L. H., Terborg, J. R., & Taynor, J. (1974). Women as managers scale (WAMS): A measure of attitudes towards women in management positions. Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 2, 66 (Ms. no. 153).Google Scholar
  43. Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2005). Revised need for Cognitive Closure Scale (unpublished manuscript). Università di Roma La Sapienza, Roma, Italia.Google Scholar
  44. Pierro, A., & Kruglanski, A. W. (2008). “Seizing and freezing” on a significant-person schema: Need for closure and the transference effect in social judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(11), 1492–1503.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167208322865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pratto, F., Sidanius, J., Stallworth, L. M., & Malle, B. F. (1994). Social dominance orientation: A personality variable predicting social and political attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(4), 741–763.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.67.4.741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Roets, A., Kruglanski, A. W., Kossowska, M., Pierro, A., & Hong, Y. Y. (2015). The motivated gatekeeper of our minds: New directions in need for closure theory and research. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 52, 221–283.  https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.aesp.2015.01.001.Google Scholar
  47. Roets, A., & Van Hiel, A. (2011). Allport’s prejudiced personality today: Need for closure as the motivated cognitive basis of prejudice. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(6), 349–354.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721411424894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Roets, A., Van Hiel, A., & Dhont, K. (2012). Is sexism a gender issue? A motivated social cognition perspective on men's and women's sexist attitudes toward own and other gender. European Journal of Personality, 26(3), 350–359.  https://doi.org/10.1002/per.843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rudman, L. A., & Glick, P. (2001). Perspective gender stereotypes and backlash towards agentic women. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4), 743–762.  https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rudman, L. A., Moss-Racusin, C. A., Phelan, J. E., & Nauts, S. (2012). Status incongruity and backlash effects: Defending the gender hierarchy motivates prejudice against female leaders. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 48(1), 165–179.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2011.10.008.Google Scholar
  51. Schein, V. E. (1975). Relationships between sex role stereotypes and requisite management characteristics among female managers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 60(3), 340–344.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0076637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sensales, G., Areni, A., & Baldner, C. (2018). Politics and gender issues: At the crossroads of sexism in language and attitudes. An overview of some Italian studies. In G. Sáez Díaz (Ed.), Sexism: Past, present and future perspectives. New York: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  53. Stöber, J. (2001). The social desirability Scale-17 (SDS-17): Convergent validity, discriminant validity, and relationship with age. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 17(3), 222–232.  https://doi.org/10.1027//1015-5759.17.3.222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Van Leeuwen, F., & Park, J. H. (2009). Perceptions of social dangers, moral foundations, and political orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(3), 169–173.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2009.02.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vecina, M. L., & Piñuela, R. (2017). Relationships between ambivalent sexism and the five moral foundations in domestic violence: Is it a matter of fairness and authority? The Journal of Psychology, 151(3), 334–344.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00223980.2017.1289145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Developmental PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations