Presentation Title

Playing Favorites: The Effect of Gender on Assigned Goals

Advisor Information

Carey S. Ryan

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 112

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

7-3-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

7-3-2014 1:15 PM

Abstract

Considerable research indicates that setting high, specific goals results in better performance (Locke & Latham, 2002). Although scholars have examined factors that affect the level at which these goals are set, most of this work has examined factors that affect self-set goals (e.g., self-efficacy; Bandura, 2012). Little is known about the factors that affect assigned goals although managers often assign goals to their subordinates in an effort to motivate them. Assigned goals are likely, at least in part, based on the goal setter’s expectations for the goal target’s ability. These expectations may come from a variety of sources, including the stereotype-based expectations people hold for certain groups. Accordingly, this study examined whether gender-related competence stereotypes affect the goals people set for female versus male targets on a work-related task. Male (n=321) and female (n=264) participants with sales experience read a scenario about a male or female target in a workplace sales situation and then completed a measure of the target’s sales ability and set performance and learning goals for the target. Participants also completed a measure of modern sexism. The results indicated that, as expected, the male target was perceived to be more competent than was the female target. This relationship was not moderated by participant sexism. Additionally, participants assigned higher goals to the male (vs. female) target. This effect was moderated by goal type such that it was stronger for the performance goal than for the learning goal. Implications for gender differences in workplace performance are discussed.

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Mar 7th, 1:00 PM Mar 7th, 1:15 PM

Playing Favorites: The Effect of Gender on Assigned Goals

UNO Criss Library, Room 112

Considerable research indicates that setting high, specific goals results in better performance (Locke & Latham, 2002). Although scholars have examined factors that affect the level at which these goals are set, most of this work has examined factors that affect self-set goals (e.g., self-efficacy; Bandura, 2012). Little is known about the factors that affect assigned goals although managers often assign goals to their subordinates in an effort to motivate them. Assigned goals are likely, at least in part, based on the goal setter’s expectations for the goal target’s ability. These expectations may come from a variety of sources, including the stereotype-based expectations people hold for certain groups. Accordingly, this study examined whether gender-related competence stereotypes affect the goals people set for female versus male targets on a work-related task. Male (n=321) and female (n=264) participants with sales experience read a scenario about a male or female target in a workplace sales situation and then completed a measure of the target’s sales ability and set performance and learning goals for the target. Participants also completed a measure of modern sexism. The results indicated that, as expected, the male target was perceived to be more competent than was the female target. This relationship was not moderated by participant sexism. Additionally, participants assigned higher goals to the male (vs. female) target. This effect was moderated by goal type such that it was stronger for the performance goal than for the learning goal. Implications for gender differences in workplace performance are discussed.