College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-10-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jane Halpert

Second Advisor

Kimberly Quinn


The purpose of this study is to investigate the ability of organizational leaders to facilitate the experience of everyday sexism in the workplace by influencing individual perceptions and acceptance of sexist behaviors. Rationale for hypotheses is presented under a social information processing framework. Social and organizational consequences of leader likability and idiosyncrasy credits are also discussed. It was hypothesized that particular leader characteristics (e.g., leader likability) and individual differences (gender identification and stigma consciousness) impact perceptions of bias. Female MTurk workers viewed a video of a female employee describing her male supervisor in a 2 (Leader Likability: high vs. low) × 2 (Sexism Cues: present vs. absent) between-subjects design and provided ratings of perceived leader bias and competence, as well as answers to behavioral response items. As predicted, sexism cues and likability had main effects on leader perceptions, such that leaders were perceived more negatively when sexism cues were present rather than absent and when the leader was low in likability rather than high. Stigma consciousness and gender identification both served as moderators between the presence of sexism cues and perceptions of leader bias. Sexism cues and leader likability also impacted endorsement of a variety of behavioral responses that could be taken against the leader (e.g., filing a complaint with Human Resources). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

SLP Collection