Sex Roles [sers] pp1079-sers-478059 February 4, 2004 17:28 Style ﬁle version June 3rd, 2002
Sex Roles, Vol. 50, Nos. 3/4, February 2004 (
Men’s and Women’s Perceptions of the Gender
Typing of Management Subroles
Leanne E. Atwater,
Joan F. Brett,
and Mary Virginia Hayden
The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which subroles inherent in managerial
positions are gender-typed and whether men or women engagein relatively more gender typing
of managerial roles. We obtained perceptions of 19 management subroles from 263 business
students in the United States Results conﬁrmed predictions that some subroles are viewed
as more feminine in nature whereas other subroles are perceived as more masculine. Male
respondents saw most subroles as more masculine in nature than did female respondents.
Results are discussed in terms of implications for researchers studying management, as well
as for managers in the workplace.
KEY WORDS: gender; management; roles.
The representation of women in managerial and
professional positions has increased from 32% in 1983
to almost 50% in 2000 (Barr, 1996; Bureau of La-
bor Statistics [BLS], 2001). In 2002, women com-
prised 15.7% percent of all corporate ofﬁcers in the
Fortune 500, up from 8.7% in 1996 (Catalyst, 2002).
Despite this progress, women are still clustered in
staff jobs, rather than in line management jobs that
are more likely to lead to higher level positions.
Although women have made considerable gains in
management roles, the glass ceiling remains ﬁrmly
in place (Meyerson & Fletcher, 2000). That is, al-
though women comprise roughly half of the ﬁrst-line
supervisors in the workplace, they still hold a very
small proportion of the top-level management jobs
(Nelton, 1995). Researchers continue to try to under-
stand this phenomenon and the factors that may re-
strict women’s rise to higher management positions.
Arizona State University West, Thunderbird Road, Phoenix,
College of Human Services, Arizona State University West,
To whom correspondence should be addressed at School
of Management, Arizona State University West, 4701 W.
Thunderbird Road, P.O. Box 37100, Phoenix, Arizona 85069-7100;
Considerable research has been conducted on
gender stereotypes as they pertain to management
as well as on style or behavior differences between
men and women. The majority of past research on
the topic of gender and management has addressed
the following. First, numerous studies have been done
on the behavior or styles of men and women in man-
agement positions. Overall, these studies have shown
very few differences (Dobbins & Platz, 1986; Eagly &
Johnson, 1990; Kolb, 1997; Powell, 1990). Second, re-
searchers have attempted to understand attitudes that
individuals hold toward women in management roles.
Generally, although attitudes are becoming more pos-
itive toward female managers, employees are still
more likely to say they prefer a male boss to a fe-
male boss (Gallup, 2001). Third, most traits associ-
ated with management are still generally considered
to be masculine (Brenner, Tomkiewicz, & Schein,
1989). Fourth, men see management as more tradi-
tionally masculine in nature than do women, and men
generally react less favorably to female bosses than
do women (cf. Atwater, Carey, & Waldman, 2001;
Stevens & DeNisi, 1980).
The study reported here expands the work done
in the area of gender and management by focusing on
men’s and women’s perceptions of the speciﬁc roles
2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation