The present research investigated factors that might affect gender discrimination in a hiring simulation context from the perspectives of social role theory and the shifting standards model. Specifically, the experimental study investigated whether gender biases are evident in the screening and hiring stage of the personnel selection process depending on the applicants’ social role and evaluators’ gender. A sample of German undergraduate business students (54 women, 53 men) was asked to make a personnel selection decision (short-listing or hiring) about a fictitious applicant (man or woman) in a specific role (leader or non-leader) for a managerial position. Consistent with social role theory’s assumption that social role information is more influential than gender information, participants selected applicants described as leaders over applicants described as non-leaders, regardless of applicant gender. In addition, in the presence of role information, female applicants portrayed as leaders were similarly short-listed and hired as male applicants with the same credentials. In the absence of role information, female applicants were similarly short-listed as male applicants; however, male applicants were hired over female applicants, albeit by male participants only. This is consistent with the shifting standards model’s assumption that group members are held to a higher standard to confirm traits on which they are perceived to be deficient: Male participants hired female applicants portrayed as non-leaders with less certainty than their male counterparts possibly due to higher confirmatory standards for leadership ability in women than men. The research and practice implications of these results are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 12, 2011
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