Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Stockdale, Margaret

Abstract

Explicit gender bias has been found using both experiments and field studies to favor men in hiring, promotion, and career opportunities (Eagly & Carli, 2007), but experimental studies have been criticized for over generalizing results obtained from a "stranger-to-stranger" paradigm (Copus, 2005; Landy, 2008). Landy (2008) argues that gender biases become negligible when raters are familiar with ratees. Additionally, Landy questioned the use of implicit measures to examine bias. Implicit or unconscious bias refers to a cognitive preference for one category over another, such as taking longer to associate female terms with managerial terms on a computerized task, and has also been shown to impact organizational decision making regarding women (Rudman & Kilianski, 2000). Implicit bias measures are often more predictive when bias may be socially undesirable. The goal of this research is to examine the effects of familiarity on automatic or unconscious gender bias. Study 1 examines associations between implicit and explicit measures of gender bias with evaluations of male and female job applicants who engage in agentic, negotiation behavior or not. It was expected that agentic (negotiating) female job applicants, compared to others, would suffer a backlash on ratings of communal traits and that this effect will be exacerbated by individual differences in implicit and explicit gender bias. An effect was found of negotiating being associated with higher agentic traits and lower overall ratings. Negotiating and gender did not interact, however the study did find women were rated as more communal than men. In Study 2 participants completed an Implicit Association Task (IAT) matching unfamiliar and familiar pictures of men and women with agentic and communal terms. It was expected that gender bias towards women would be stronger in the unfamiliar condition than in the familiar condition. Results indicated that there was a consistent bias against associating women with agentic terms and this effect was not influenced by familiarity. In Study 3, participants completed a gender-bias IAT and then read a scenario describing either a man or woman who is being evaluated for a promotion. They were asked to free recall positive and negative outcomes and attributes associated with the person in the scenario. It was expected that participants who have an implicit bias against women would remember negative events from the female scenario more easily than from the male scenario. There was a gender effect with participants remembering more negative events and less positive events when the employee was female compare to when the employee was male. Across all three studies differences were found between explicit and implicit measurements of gender bias. These three studies help us better understand relationships between implicit and explicit gender bias in the workplace. Additionally, Study 2 addressed criticism of gender bias findings ignoring familiarity.

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