Men See Powerful Women As Threats To Their Masculinity, Says Study

Academic studies can be fascinating… and totally confusing. So we decided to strip away all of the scientific jargon and break them down for you.

The Background

As more and more women heed Sheryl Sandberg’s call to lean in, it’s becoming increasingly common for men to — gasp — report to female supervisors. This is something that’s been a bit hard for men to stomach, according to previous research. But if women are just as — if not more — competent bosses, why do men prefer to report to other men? And why do ladybosses face so much negative bias? A recent study provides an interesting answer.

The Setup
The new research comprised of three small studies exploring how men tend to react to women in power. For the first study, 76 men and women were told that they were negotiating their salaries with a new employer via messaging on a computer. Participants were split in half and told that they were either negotiating with a female hiring manager (Sarah) or a male one (David). The opening offer was $28,500, but they could choose to counteroffer up to five times. After that, participants completed an exercise to see how threatened they felt by either David or Sarah, depending on who they negotiated with.

In the end, men who negotiated with Sarah were more threatened than men who negotiated with David, and they responded by pushing back with more assertive counteroffers. For women, the gender of the hiring manager wasn’t associated with their likelihood to feel threatened or counteroffer.

The second study had 68 male participants imagine they worked in a marketing department of an organization and were receiving a portion of a $10,000 bonus that would be split between them and a colleague. —> Read More