Sex Roles

, Volume 37, Issue 11–12, pp 847–859 | Cite as

Fear of success, fear of failure, and the imposter phenomenon among male and female marketing managers

  • Sharon Fried-Buchalter


Female (N = 51) and male (N = 53) marketing managers, which included 10 African-Americans, 15 Hispanics, and 79 Caucasians, with salaries ranging from $25,000 to $350,000, were assessed for fear of success (FOS), fear of failure (FOF), and the imposter phenomenon (IP). Based on Homer’s (1968) theory that FOS is related to gender roles socialization, it was hypothesized that FOS would be greater among female managers than among male managers. However, based on the conceptualization of FOF presented by Birney, Burdick, and Teevan (1969) and the description of the IP offered by Glance and Imes (1978), no significant differences were expected on these dimensions. This study seeks to clarify the relationships between gender, in relation to FOS, FOF, and the IP, among marketing managers. FOS was measured by the Fear of Success Scale (Zuckerman and Allison, 1976), FOF was measured by the application of the Hostile Press Scoring system applied to stories written by responding managers in response to verbal leads (HP System; Birney et al, 1969), and the IP measured by Harvey’s (1982) IP Scale. Results were as expected. Female managers were significantly higher than males on FOS, but there were no significant gender differences on FOF or the IP. Among both female and male managers, significant positive correlations were observed between FOF and the IP. FOS was not related significantly to either the FOF or the IP. Results were interpreted as indicating differences between culturally based and intra psychic fear of succeeding.


Significant Gender Difference Achievement Motivation Psychological Report Marketing Manager Dissertation Abstract 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Fried-Buchalter
    • 1
  1. 1.4800 Linton BlvdBoca Raton, Florida

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