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SEX ROLE COMPLEMENTARITY IN JOB STEREOTYPY

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Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of gender and sex role on the perceived suitability of hypothetical job applicants for sex-typed jobs. Six descriptions of applicants were presented to 605 college students, who were asked to rank order them on suitability for different jobs. The questionnaire each student received had five applicants with masculine first names and one with a feminine first name. Results showed no main effect due to either job sex-type, sex role of applicants, or gender of either applicant or student-rater. Interactional analyses, however, showed that for specific applicant job pairings where male applicants were ranked differently than female applicants, a complementarity of gender and sex role was evident. Specifically, the applicant with stereotypically masculine traits was ranked high when presented as a woman, while the applicant with stereotypically feminine traits was ranked high when presented as a man. It is suggested that this interaction effect is best explained by positing that gender-related stereotypes are implicity generated and that they complement sex role characteristics of the other sex. Thus, a woman with male sex role characteristics, or a man with female sex role characteristics, is seen as more adaptable or well-rounded than applicants whose sex roles are consonant with their gender.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1989.17.2.181

Publication date: January 1, 1989

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