Mölders, Sophie, Prisca Brosi, Magdalena Bekk, Matthias Spörrle and Isabell M. Welpe

Support for quotas for women in leadership: The influence of gender stereotypes

Human Resource Management, 57 (4): 882-869, (2018).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1002/hrm.21882

Abstract: This study examines support for quotas for women in leadership, a currently highly debated topic in management research and practice. Using a sample of German working adults (N = 761), our results suggest that stereotypes about women (n = 380) are significantly related to support for quotas for women in leadership. Ascriptions of agency to typical women, that is, the extent to which women are generally seen as assertive, active, and strong, were positively related to participants' support for quotas for women in leadership in male‐gendered industries and high hierarchical positions, whereas ascriptions of communality to typical women, that is, the extent to which women are seen as understanding, supportive, and caring, were generally positively related. This pattern emerged for both male and female participants. Unexpectedly, gender‐stereotypic ascriptions to men (n = 381) were also related to support for quotas for women in leadership—with a positive relationship with agency in male‐gendered industries and a general negative relationship with communality, although these results were less pronounced. Implications for organizations are derived from these results, highlighting how the introduction of quotas for women in leadership can be smoothed by addressing how employees see women in terms of agency and communality.

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