If the shoe fits: Gender role congruity and evaluations of public managers

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Kendall Funk


Gendered organizations, Performance evaluations, Management, Stereotypes, Women


Traditional stereotypes about both gender and managers make women appear to be incongruent with management positions; a potential consequence of which is less favorable evaluations of women managers. Using an original survey experiment, this study tests whether and how gender role incongruity, combined with the gender-typing of organizations and gender of the evaluator, affect evaluations of hypothetical public managers. Results suggest that men and women public managers are evaluated equally favorably overall; however, men evaluators perceive women managers less favorably than do women evaluators. This is largely driven by the gender-typing of organizations. While men evaluators rate women managers in feminine organizations as favorably as do women evaluators, they rate women managers in masculine organizations less favorably compared to women evaluators. Indeed, men evaluators rate women managers in masculine organizations lower compared to all other groups of comparison, including all other possible combinations of evaluator, manager, and organization gender. Findings indicate that though perceived incongruity between women and management positions may have diminished over time, there is evidence that gender biases still remain problematic for women managers’ careers, especially in masculine gender-typed organizations.

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