Understanding the malleability of implicit stereotyping and implicit prejudice toward female leadership: a longitudinal field study on municipality employees in Turkey
Dural Şenoğuz, Uzay (2016) Understanding the malleability of implicit stereotyping and implicit prejudice toward female leadership: a longitudinal field study on municipality employees in Turkey. [Thesis]
The widespread underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions and discrimination against them has been mostly explained using socio-cognitive processes, such as stereotypic and prejudicial attitudes against women’s leadership. Any reduction in such unfavorable attitudes of employees seems to be necessary before we can see more gender balance in senior leadership. There are divergent theories and contradicting results on how malleable stereotypes and prejudices toward women management are especially for their implicit (i.e. automatic, sub-conscious, uncontrollable and unintentional) components. The present study aims to examine the malleability of the implicit stereotypic and prejudicial attitudes toward female leadership. I consider dynamic views of role congruity theory and implicit leadership theories as well as divergent theories on the malleability of stereotypes and prejudice, namely intergroup contact theory, the associative-propositional evaluation model and the backlash effect arguments. I investigate the presence and extent of change (alpha or gamma change) in implicit attitudes toward female leadership of employees following exposure to a female leader at work. I conducted a three-phase (three-month interval) longitudinal field study in the municipality context. Longitudinal data were collected from civil servants of metropolitan district municipalities which had a woman mayor for the first time in their history (n = 147, 46.3% females) and those with male municipality mayors (n = 160, 56.7% females). The results suggest no significant overall difference in implicit stereotyping or the change trajectory of implicit prejudice toward female leadership (via latent growth modelling) following exposure to a female leader. Participant gender, female leader’s perceived characteristics (i.e., success & agency/communality) as well as employees’ perceived quantity and quality of interaction with the female mayor significantly moderated the exposure’s influence over implicit stereotyping and implicit prejudice. I discuss the implications of this study on contradicting theoretical explanations concerning the malleability of implicit attitudes toward female leadership as well as dynamic arguments of leadership theories.
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