Gender Difference Study Reveals Surprise

Jan 4, 2017

ISU Associate Provost Jim Jawahar.
Credit Laura Kennedy / WGLT

An Illinois State University scholar helped to conduct a study that shows gender doesn't have as big an impact in job performance evaluations.

Working with a team of researchers from across the country, Jim Jawahar, Associate Provost at Illinois State University, looked into how men and women are evaluated in the workplace, and if the old gender stereotypes prevail.

"We were looking at whether there are differences in performance ratings that men and women receive in different jobs," said Jawahar. "We examined The Agency Communion Paradigm, which states that men will receive higher ratings when it comes to job dimensions such as assertiveness and risk taking, relative to women.  And women will receive higher ratings than men when it comes to job dimensions like nurturing and collaborating."

The team also examined how men  managers tend to get higher ratings than women, and how in male dominated jobs, men tend to get higher ratings than women in the same job.

"And what we found when we tested those three ideas is gender has essentially no influence on ratings, " said Jawahar. "We were surprised by that, in a pleasant way, because basically what it tells us is that stereotypes about how men and women perform in the workplace over years has been declining, which is good news."

Jawahar points out that the job dimensions need to be clear and criteria for evaluations should be very specific and clear.  "When that is the case, there's virtually no difference in the ratings men and women receive."