To examine how employees perceive women as managers, the present study employed the Women as Managers Scale (WAMS) (Terborg et al. 1977). Specifically, the WAMS is intended to measure stereotypic attitudes toward women as managers. The scale consists of 11 positively worded items (e.g. “Women have the capability to acquire the necessary skills to be successful managers.”; “Problems associated with menstruation should not make women less desirable than men as employees.”; “Society should regard work by female managers as valuable as work by male managers.”.) and 10 negatively worded items (e.g. “It is less desirable for women than men to have a job that requires responsibility.”; “Women are less capable of learning mathematical and mechanical skills than are Men”; “Women are not competitive enough to be successful in the business world”). Participants indicated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with each item from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 7 (Strongly Agree). The total score on the WAMS is obtained by the mean of all positive responses and reversed negative responses. Higher values indicate a greater degree of perception of control.
1. Overall perceptions towards women as managers (WAMS)
Employees perception toward women as managers (WAMS) in Macao, seems to be slightly above the midpoint of scale (M=4.79, SD=0.723). Yet, when compared to values obtained in other countries (Javalgi et al. 2011; Sincoff et al. 2009), this is still low. It suggests that there are still a strong stereotypical views of gender roles in the workplace.
2. WAMS across different industry sectors
Across different industry sectors, it is evident from the results that employees working in male oriented occupations (e.g. electricity, gas and water supply; Real estate, Food & beverage) tend to view women in the more traditional sense, with more stereotypical views than those working in female oriented occupations (e.g. MICE, Leisure and entertainment, Public administration and social security).
3. Job Characteristics and WAMS
Some job related characteristics were found to be related to the perceptions of women as managers. Neither salary, nor job level are related to perceptions towards women as managers. That is, high and lower earners, tend to have similar perceptions towards women as managers. The same holds true for those occupying different job levels.
3.1 Number of service years
However, the number of service years in current position and current company is negatively associated with perceptions towards women as managers (r= -.124, p < .05 and r= -.144, p < .05).
4. Personal characteristics and WAMS
Many of the personal characteristics are found to be related to the perceptions of women as managers.
4.1 Gender differences
An independent-samples t-test was run to determine if there were differences in attitudes towards women managers (WAMS) between males and females. Female employees showed higher WAMS score (M=4.89, SD=0.66) than male employees (M=4.51, SD=0.57), a statistically significant difference, M = 0.38, 95% CI [0.30, 0.47], t(852) = 8.82, p < .001.
Specifically, There are marked differences between genders on how they view women as managers. Compared to women, men still hold less positive view of female as managers.
Younger employees tend to be more receptive of women as managers, than older employees. Based on the results, employees’ age is negatively associated with perceptions towards women as managers (r= -.124, p < .05).
Those with higher education, tend to have more positive views of women as managers.
5. Effects of WAMS on employees
Workers that shows more positive perceptions towards women as managers, they tend to show a lower preference to work with a male manager (r= -.118, p < .05). And when they work for a female manager, their intent to stay tend to be the highest. In fact, when the manager is male, gender preferences does not greatly influence intent to stay. However, as for female managers, when their subordinates gender preference does not correspond, it affects intent to stay greatly. This suggests that there are still skeptical views of women as managers and it may have negative impacts at the workplace.
6. Other factors related to WAMS
Amongst other factors related to WAMS (general job satisfaction, Perceived C&B Fairness and Job stress), only job stress was found to be negatively correlated. That is, employees with more positive views of women as managers tend to suffer less occupational stress.
7. Conclusion & Implications:
- Although attitudes toward women managers in Macao are somewhat positive, it is important to recognize that this is still far below from other countries e.g. US. Thus, expatriates working in Macao, must recognize and reconciliate with this.
- Increased salary, higher positions, accumulated number of years of work experience, none of these job-related characteristics seems to influence gender stereotypical views of women managers, and when it does, it does so only to a minor extent. Instead, personal characteristics, such as gender, age, education, seems to be closely related to these gender stereotypical views and is explained by the fact that it is culturally, historically, and socially rooted.
- Negative attitudes towards women as managers, can affect intent to stay, and managers should be especially aware of situations where the manager is female. Because for female managers, when their subordinates gender preference does not correspond, it affects intent to stay. Thus, when establishing gender diversity in the workforce, caution should be exercised, as it may backfire.
- Finally, it is important to create a greater awareness of gender diversity in the labour workforce, through training and seminars.
Analysis in this special focus report is based on data collected in June 2017 via both field and online survey (n=856). For further information regarding the MHRM project, methodology employed and a profile of the study's respondent characteristics, please visit here.
8. Publication bibliography
Javalgi, Rajshekhar G.; Scherer, Robert; Sánchez, Carol; Pradenas Rojas, Lorena; Parada Daza, Víctor; Hwang, Chi‐en; Yan, Wu (2011): A comparative analysis of the attitudes toward women managers in China, Chile, and the USA. In Int Journal of Emerging Mkts 6 (3), pp. 233–253. DOI: 10.1108/17468801111144067.
Sincoff, Michael Z.; Owen, Crystal L.; Coleman, Joseph W. (2009): Women as Managers in the United States and China. A Cross-Cultural Study. In Journal of Asia-Pacific Business 10 (1), pp. 65–79. DOI: 10.1080/10599230802711555.
Terborg, J. R.; Peters, L. H.; Ilgen, D. R.; Smith, F. (1977): Organizational and Personal Correlates of Attitudes Toward Women as Managers. In Academy of Management Journal 20 (1), pp. 89–100. DOI: 10.2307/255464.