Effects of sexism and job–applicant match on leadership candidate evaluations

Alissa C. Fleming1, Hanna Hlebasko1, Sarah C. Adams1, Krystal N. Roach1, Neil D. Christiansen1
1Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Central Michigan University, United States
Cite this article:  Fleming, A. C., Hlebasko, H., Adams, S. C., Roach, K. N., & Christiansen, N. D. (2020). Effects of sexism and job–applicant match on leadership candidate evaluations. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 48(9), e8452.

Volume 48 Issue 9 | e8452 | Published: September 2020 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.8452

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In the lack of fit model and role congruity theory it is suggested that mismatch between female candidates and agentic, male-typed jobs is responsible for discrimination when women apply for leadership positions. In 2 studies we examined the effects of job–applicant mismatch and evaluator sexism on candidate evaluations. In Study 1 (participant evaluators N = 306), mismatch between a female applicant and an agentic job was beneficial for hireability and competence when the evaluator was male and scored low in sexism. However, we were surprised by the result that female evaluators who scored high in sexism rated female applicants for communal jobs lower on competence, likeability, and hireability than did female evaluators who scored low in sexism. In Study 2 (participant evaluators N = 619), evaluator sexism was related to hireability through competence but not through likeability. Further research should be conducted to explore why sexist women devalue a female candidate who is applying for a communal position.

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