Sex Roles [sers] pp436-sers-369964 March 7, 2002 20:5 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sex Roles, Vol. 45, Nos. 9/10, November 2001 (
Business Students’ Perceptions of Best University
Professors: Does Gender Role Matter?
Mount Saint Vincent University
Saint Mary’s University
This study investigated the relationship between the gender and gender-role
of students and their “best” university professors. Two hundred and ninety
two business students in 2 universities in Atlantic Canada rated their best
professors and themselves using Bem’s Sex Role Inventory. Male business
students were more likely than females to choose a male as their best professor,
and female business students were more likely than males to choose a female
as their best professor. The study also indicates that a student’s own gender and
gender role are signiﬁcantly related to those of his/her best professor. Male
professors with low femininity scores (but not necessarily high masculinity
scores), and female professors who are gender-neutral (i.e., androgynous or
undifferentiated) were more often chosen by students as their best professors.
In general, masculinity seems to be valued more by older, part-time students
with greater work experience. Implications of these ﬁndings for university
teachers are discussed.
KEY WORDS: gender role; university teaching; teaching effectiveness; business professors;
Canadian universities; femininity; student gender.
Recently, there has been an increasing appreciation of the relevance of fem-
inine values and behaviors such as compassion, tenderness, warmth, partici-
pative decision making, compromising conﬂict-management style, and sym-
pathy in business settings (Brabeck & Weisgerber, 1989; Eagley & Mladinic,
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Business and Tourism,
Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3M 2J6; e-mail: mallika.
2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation