Research explores tactics women leaders employ to overcome gender stereotypes, toll such actions take
In corporate boardrooms, women often face backlash or negative career consequences when they are unable to display both warmth and competence—gendered societal expectations commonly referred to as the “double bind.”
Morela Hernandez, professor at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy and faculty director of the school’s Leadership Initiative, investigates the disadvantages that women leaders face, which ultimately hinders progress toward gender equality.
Hernandez co-wrote the study, “Managing the Double Bind: Women Directors’ Participation Tactics in the Gendered Boardroom,” with Tiffany Trzebiatowski of Colorado State University and Courtney McCluney of Cornell University. It was published in Organization Science.
Through first-person accounts of women directors on the boards of publicly traded U.S. companies, the authors reveal six participation tactics used to manage stereotypes in male-dominated contexts. Hernandez and her colleagues found the women were selective in the tactic they used depending on their goals.