Behavioral Correlates of metastereotyoes: The relationship between impression management and supervisor perceptions of women in STEM




Gilrane, Veronica

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Women are currently underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (i.e., STEM fields; Beutel & Nelson, 2005; Wilson, 2004), and while researchers have explored several reasons for the scarcity of women in STEM, a growing literature has investigated the influence of stereotypes. Extending this literature, the current study investigates the role of metastereotypes (i.e., STEM women's perceptions about how others stereotype their in-group, Vorauer, Main, & O'Connell, 1998) on two forms of impression management: self-promotion and ingratiation (Bolino & Turnley, 1999). In addition, the current research examines supervisor reactions to these impression management behaviors. The moderating roles of the referent outgroup (i.e., peers, subordinates, supervisors) and metastereotype consciousness are also investigated. Results suggest that the referent outgroup influences the relationship between metastereotype content and impression management behaviors, such that STEM women are more likely to engage in compensatory behaviors when the referent outgroup is supervisors. Further, evidence suggests that STEM women were more likely to engage in impression management to counter negative metastereotypes when they were highly conscious of how others viewed their ingroup than when they possess low metastereotype consciousness. In addition, competence-related impression management behaviors (i.e., self-promotion) were negatively related to supervisor ratings of likeability, but this relationship was mitigated to the extent that women engaged in wamrth-related impression management (i.e., ingratiation). This research contributes to our understanding of STEM women's experiences as well as the integral role of metastereotypes in predicting behaviors, and, in turn, the relationship between these behaviors and others' perceptions. The implications of these findings for STEM women and the institutions in which they are employed are also discussed.



Gender studies, Backlash Effect, Gender, Impression Management, Metastereotypes, STEM