Do Positive and Negative Stereotypes of Gay and Heterosexual Men Affect Job-Related Impressions?
- 341 Downloads
Traditional gender stereotypes encompass (typically masculine) agency, comprising task-related competence, and (typically feminine) communion or warmth. Both agency and communion are important for successful performance in many jobs. Stereotypes of gay men include the perception that they are less gender-typed than their heterosexual counterparts are (i.e., more gay-stereotypical and less masculine). Using a German sample, Experiment 1 (n = 273) tested whether gay men at the same time appear higher in communion, but lower in agency than heterosexual men and whether a trade-off in hireability impressions results between both groups if jobs require both agency and communion. We measured participants’ willingness to work together with applicants, in addition to hireability, as dependent variables, and we assessed as mediators perceived masculinity, how gay-stereotypical male targets were judged, as well as perceived communion and agency. Findings showed that gay men appeared more gay-stereotypical, less masculine, and more communal than heterosexual men, but no difference in agency was observed. The direct effects of sexual orientation on willingness to engage in work-related contact and on hireability were not significant. Instead, both positive and negative indirect effects of sexual orientation on hireability/contact were found. Experiment 2 (n = 32) replicated the findings pertaining to agency, communion, and masculinity and demonstrated that a gay applicant appeared better suited for traditionally feminine jobs, whereas a heterosexual applicant appeared better suited for traditionally masculine jobs. We discuss who is discriminated under which conditions, based on gender-related stereotypes, when men’s sexual orientation is revealed in work contexts.
KeywordsAttitudes toward homosexuality Personnel selection Stereotyped attitudes Agency Communion Employer attitudes Job application interview Discrimination
The current research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, STE 938/11–1). We thank Felix Göttert, Inga Bette, Katharina Köhler, and Lisa Marie Wagner for help with data collection and Rebecca Aust for valuable comments on a previous version of this paper.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals
The present research was approved by the Board of Ethics of the Faculty of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau. Participants were treated following APA standards and the Declaration of Helsinki. Data were collected anonymously, participants were fully debriefed immediately after data collection and then decided whether they allow us to analyze their data or not.
Informed consent was obtained at the beginning of data collection. The respective German language form is available from the first author.
- Adam, B. D. (1981). Stigma and employability: Discrimination by sex and sexual orientation in the Ontario legal profession. Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 18, 216–221. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-618X.1981.tb01234.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Barrantes, R. J., & Eaton, A. A. (2018). Sexual orientation and leadership suitability: How being a gay man affects perceptions of fit in gender-stereotyped positions. Sex Roles. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-018-0894-8.
- Cohen, J. (1977). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (revised ed.). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Fiske, S. T., & Neuberg, S. L. (1990). A continuum of impression formation, from category-based to individuating processes: Influences of information and motivation on attention and interpretation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 23, pp. 1–74). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., 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, 878–902. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Glick, P., Lameiras, M., Fiske, S. T., Eckes, T., Masser, B., Volpato, C., ... Wells, R. (2004). Bad but bold: Ambivalent attitudes toward men predict gender inequality in 16 nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 713–728. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hansen, K., Rakić, T., & Steffens, M. C. (2017). Foreign-looking native-accented people are evaluated more positively when seen rather than heard first. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550617732389.
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Heilman, M. E. (1983). Sex bias in work settings: The lack of fit model. Research in Organizational Behavior, 5, 269–298.Google Scholar
- Hoyt, C. L., & Parry, M. (2018). Sociocultural and individual manifestations of sexual stigma: The role of political ideology and prejudice in discrimination against sexual minorities. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 6, 92–128. https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v6i1.810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Koch, A., Imhoff, R., Dotsch, R., Unkelbach, C., & Alves, H. (2016). The ABC of stereotypes about groups: Agency/socioeconomic success, conservative–progressive beliefs, and communion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110, 675–709. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kuyper, L., Iedema, J., & Keuzenkamp, S. (2013). Towards tolerance: Exploring changes and explaining differences in attitudes towards homosexuality in Europe. The Hague: The Netherlands Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Niedlich, C., Steffens, M. C., Krause, J., Settke, E., & Ebert, I. D. (2015). Ironic effects of sexual minority group membership: Are lesbians less susceptible to invoking negative female stereotypes than heterosexual women? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44, 1439–1447. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-014-0412-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 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 Social Psychology, 48, 165–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.Jesp.2011.10.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rudolph, U., Böhm, R., & Lummer, M. (2007). Ein Vorname sagt mehr als 1000 Worte: Zur sozialen Wahrnehmung von Vornamen (A first name says more than 1000 words: On the social perception of first names). Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 38, 17–31. https://doi.org/10.1024/0044-35184.108.40.206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Smith, T. W. (2011). Cross-national differences in attitudes towards homosexuality. Chicago: NORC/University of Chicago GSS Cross-national Report, No. 31.Google Scholar
- Steffens, M. C., & Jonas, K. J. (2010). Attitudes towards adoptive parents, child age, and child gender: The role of applicants’ sexual orientation. Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, Sonderheft, 7, 205–219.Google Scholar
- Steffens, M. C., & Mehl, B. (2003). Erscheinen “Karrierefrauen” weniger sozial kompetent als “Karrieremänner”? – Geschlechterstereotype und Kompetenzzuschreibung (Do “career women” appear less socially competent than “career men”? Gender stereotypes and competence ascription). Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 34, 173–185. https://doi.org/10.1024//0044-35220.127.116.11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Steffens, M. C., Schult, J. C., & Ebert, I. D. (2009). Feminization of management leads to backlash against agentic applicants: Lack of social skills, not gender, determines low hireability judgments in student samples. Psychology Science Quarterly, 51, 16–46.Google Scholar
- Steffens, M. C., Niedlich, C., & Ehrke, F. (2016). Discrimination at work on the basis of sexual orientation: Subjective experience, experimental evidence, and interventions. In T. Köllen (Ed.), Sexual orientation and transgender issues in organizations. Global perspectives on LGBT workforce diversity (pp. 367–388). Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar