Challenge

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Public and Private Displays of Status Concerning Gender

Previous work shows that stereotypes influence women’s ability to attain and act in leadership positions, however much less work has examined the role that gendered expectations and stereotypes might play for subordinate behavior and how this might reinforce the gender leadership gap.
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Nature and Context

According to research, men are more publicly critical of leaders and more willing to undermine leaders than are women. In two studies it is seen that men are more publicly critical in both high and low status subordinate roles, and under both men and women leaders. Studies also show men and women do not differ in their private behavior or evaluations of a leader and that gender differences in subordinate behavior and evaluations only arise in publicly visible evaluations, behavior, and criticism. Gender differences in public behavior and evaluation may be due to men exaggerating their criticism to restore a threatened sense of status or masculinity, or due to women tempering their criticism due to gender stereotypes that discourage assertive and critical behavior for women. Either explanation suggests that men and women perform gendered expectations in public and behave in ways that can disadvantage women leaders.

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