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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland

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Purpose: The aim of the pilot study was to fnd out whether the perception of candidates for leadership positions differs along with the gender of the candidate in Poland. Methodology: In order to answer the question, the author has conducted a preliminary experiment on 50 MBA students, which were experienced in recruitment. Two identical CVs were randomly distributed among the participants, with either a male or female version of the CV. Basing on the provided information, respondents were to decide on among others hireability, likeability and offered income to the given candidate. Findings: The experiment revealed that the female candidate for the CEO position was perceived and evaluated differently than the male candidate. Thus, the experiment indicated that gender inequality may already appear at the phase of recruitment for higher positions. Originality: The presented study analyzed perceptions of experienced recruiters, which may suggest that such behaviors and patters may be repeated in a non-laboratory environment. Limitations: A limitation of the pilot study is the low number of participants and therefore further research should be conducted.
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Vol. 25, No. 1/2017, p. 16–32, ISSN 2450-7814; e-ISSN 2450-8829
DOI: 10.7206/jmba.ce.2450-7814.187
Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
Anna Górska1
Submitted: 16.06.2016. Final acceptance: 16.09.16
Abstract
Purpose: The aim of the pilot study was to nd out whether the perception of candidates for lead-
ership positions differs along with the gender of the candidate in Poland.
Methodology: In order to answer the question, the author has conducted apreliminary experiment
on 50 MBA students, which were experienced in recruitment. Two identical CVs were randomly
distributed among the participants, with either amale or female version of the CV. Basing on the
provided information, respondents were to decide on among others hireability, likeability and
offered income to the given candidate.
Findings: The experiment revealed that the female candidate for the CEO position was perceived
and evaluated differently than the male candidate. Thus, the experiment indicated that gender
inequality may already appear at the phase of recruitment for higher positions.
Originality: The presented study analyzed perceptions of experienced recruiters, which may sug-
gest that such behaviors and patters may be repeated in anon-laboratory environment.
Limitations: Alimitation of the pilot study is the low number of participants and therefore further
research should be conducted.
Keywords: gender, top management, leadership, inequality, women, perception
JEL: M14, M12, J16
1 Kozminski University
Correspondence address: Kozminski University, Jagiellonska 57/59 St., 03-301 Warsaw, e-mail: amg@kozminski.edu.pl
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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
Introduction
Stereotypically, society views men and women as distinct identities, where women
are from Venus and men from Mars, suggesting that men and women are so different
that even communication between the two is difcult. Similarly, the idea that awoman
manager is different from amen manager, creates the distinction and valuation of who
is better and who is worse (Witek-Crabb, 2012).
“The best leadership is found by choosing leaders from the largest pool of talent, and
that includes women” Eagly (2007), but still, women are underrepresented in leader-
ship positions in Poland (Smulewicz, 2014). Throughout history, management was
dominated by men, while women’s access was in large part limited. Perception of
agood and adequate manager was therefore associated with masculinity.
At the same time, factors such as stereotypes and prejudice, traditions and norms are
still limiting women’s access to high and prestigious positions (Eagly, 2002). Despite var-
ious research proving that women are by no means worse leaders, the biase that aleader
should be male still persists (see: Eagly and Carli, 2007; Powell and Buttereld, 2013).
As cultural messages regarding women’s role in society could lead managers to present
agender-biased attitude towards afemale candidate, the review on the historical role
of awomen and stereotypes in Poland was conducted.
This paper will focus not only on the results, which include the gender gap, less women
on prestigious positions and longer promotion time, but most importantly it will research
whether women have the same possibilities of getting ajob and earning the same
amount as men do, when having identical skills, education and background.
Within this pilot research, the conducted experiment will evaluate the hireability and
likeability differences between male and female candidates for leadership positions.
Women in Poland
Women in Poland are still underrepresented on the top managerial positions and
despite asignicant increase in the employment of women over the last decade, there
is still apersistent disproportion in the employment rate between the genders (Smule-
wicz, 2014). When it comes to middle management in Poland, the percentage of women
in these positions is higher than the EU average, whilst the gender gap is still at the level
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Anna Górska
of 16% (European Commission, 2014). When looking at the data from the top management,
there are even higher discrepancies. Firstly there are signicantly less women than
man and secondly they earn on average 20% less (Sedlak&Sedlak, 2011). In research
conducted by Grant Thornton International it is presented that women constitute 37%
of all managerial positions in Poland, which compared to Germany or Japan (14 and
8 perc. respectively), are apositive shift. In the same time, only 5% of them get pro-
moted to top managerial positions, with the highest power and prestige (Forbes, 2015).
Ofcial statistical data show that there is ahigher unemployment rate among females,
despite the fact that women are better educated and generally are more willing to
increase their qualications in comparison to men (Pieńczykowska, 2014). Moreover
the unemployment rate is signicantly higher for women even when looking at specic
socio-demographic factors such as age, education and duration of unemployment.
Women on the same position are better educated than men, similarly, unemployed
women are better educated than unemployed men (GUS, 2014).
Astudy conducted by Harvard Business Review Polska and Hays Poland in 2013 pre-
sented the ndings that amajority of CEOs have higher education with specialization
in Finance or HRM, additionally the same data show that even though there are more
women with those specializations, agreat majority of CEOs are still men. It means that
education may not necessarily be the obstacle for women to become aCEO. Addition-
ally, it may be an example of the “glass escalator”, whereas in feminized sectors, where
there are more women than men, it is still more likely that men will get promoted.
From the analysis by made Anna Zachorowska-Mazurkiewicz in 2006 in her book
Women and Institutions (Kobiety iinsty tucje) there are several factors inuencing the
situation of awomen as an employee. Firstly, employers are hiring men more often
than women and this tendency is ongoing despite the fact that parental leave is avail-
able for both genders. The author also emphasized the stereotypical attitude, that
women are handling their lack of employment better than men, while in fact the
duration of women’s unemployment is longer than men’s.
Literature Review
Hofstede Masculinity vs. Femininity MAS index analysis
In order to better understand business culture in Poland, the Hofstede MAS index has
been analyzed. It veries whether agiven culture has amore masculine or feminine
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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
approach. The index refers to the distribution of the roles and values in business
culture and is asocietal not an individual characteristic (Hofstede, 2011). Poland has
scored 64 out of 100 points, which means that Poland is amasculine society and
therefore typical masculine values are more appreciated. In comparison, Sweden has
scored only 5 points. Masculinity in this regard refers to higher competitiveness and
assertiveness in society, making goal-orientation, power, strength, material success
and individual achievements more valuable (Hofstede, 1998). Additionally, ahigh score
in this index means that emotions and social roles between genders are differentiated
and are dened by the stereotypes (Hofstede, 2001). In highly masculine societies
“Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success; women
are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life” (Hof-
stede, 2001). The masculinity index is positively correlated with the individualism
index, which means that the more masculine the society is, the more individualistic
it is (values personal achievement rather than group achievement).
The fact that Poland scored high in this index is asign, that gender roles and stereo-
types play an important role in the business culture, moreover awomen working in
ahighly masculine society, has to adapt those masculine characteristics, as they are
demanded and respected. Women’s role in countries with ahigh score in this index, have
to face stereotypes regarding their social role, emotionality and power, while men are
favored in the business culture.
The index proves that in Poland the differentiation between genders is high and stereo-
types are important. Further analysis is needed about what are the typical gender
stereotypes in Poland and how it affects women’s role in the society.
Historical role of women in Poland
One of the reasons for the disproportion between the number of women and men in
large companies are cultural and historical factors (Forbes, 2014). In Poland the situa-
tion of women was different than in the rest of the world, as women during the par-
titions of Poland, were put on apedestal, being responsible for raising future patriots.
Still, women had awell-dened social role, which did not include higher education
or professional work, but maintaining the national spirit in young minds. At that time,
the archetype of a“polish-mother” started to arise, where women were meant to sacrice
for the sake of the husband, children and patriotism (Titkow, 1995).
The inuence that women had on the young patriots, created the responsibility on
the national identity of society, which led to the creation of the rst women schools
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Anna Górska
(in 1775), where women were taught how to be agood wife and mother, through the
growth of their “talents” – such as piano lessons and French literature. As aresult
women had no real possibility to get an education sufcient for work, other than that
at home (Walczewska, 2000). Only in 1825, women were allowed to study at the Jagiello-
nian University, but still only certain courses were available for women, and still they
were not allowed to work at the Universities (thus leading to Maria Skłodowska having
to eventually leave the country).
Before the First World War, during the formation of the new labor market, the gender
division was very visible, as women were not prepared for the demands of the arising new
economy. The segregation of women and men in the labor market was formed and as
aresult wage gaps were signicant. Only in 1920 women were given equal political
rights and unrestricted access to higher education in Poland (Zachorowska-Mazurkie-
wicz, 2006). However, society still lacked acceptance for women which focused on their
education or careers, instead of family and household (see: Śmiarowska, 1925).
In the interwar period, the lack of male employees inuenced the activation of women on
the labor market. However, due to the fact that women were not as well educated as
men, women were tended to be used asource of cheap labor (Żarnowski, 2000). Addition-
ally, married women, were perceived by society as ones that do not have to work, as its
their husbands obligation to take nancial care of the family and in many situations,
married women were released from public institutions (Żarnowski, 2000). Alack of
education and the negative attitude towards women employees, were reected in their
wages – whereas women earned on average 40% of men’s income and moreover, women
with ahigher education, were faced with an even higher wage gap – as they were offered
only half of men’s remuneration.
After the Second World War, in the centrally planned economy, the full employment
policy minimalized the division into feminine and masculine jobs, where women
were working in typically physical, male jobs, but were still seen as asecond choice
employee. After the recovery from the war, women were “protected” from the hard
physical work, as their role as amother became crucial for the country’s future again.
Maternity leave was created, as well as policies aimed at “protecting” women from “too
much” work and encouraging women to become mothers. In 1983, the segregation into
female and male work was very visible, whereas the majority of women worked in
sectors such as health care, social care, primary education, whilst earning 30% less
than men (Zachorowska-Mazurkiewicz, 2006).
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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
The fact that women earned less was seen as anorm, as their role was to take care of
the family at home, while men should take care of the nances. This belief survived
decades and is still visible in Polish “traditional” values (Titkow, 1995).
Stereotypical role of awomen in Poland
Gender is acategorization which occurs instantly, as well as the division of men as
different social identities, inuencing social norms, roles and behaviors (Eagly, 2004).
Women were referred to as the “other”. As no group could dene itself without setting
up the opposite, “other”, in many cases this was represented by women (Beauvoir,
1989). Out of the division of self and other, stereotypes arise, in order to explain and
give meaning to the duality. Gender stereotypes place men and women as opposites,
whereas the “behavior of the men is considered as anorm, while women’s as adeviation
from this norm” (McClelland, 1975).
Generally, gender stereotypes create amore positive image of women than of men
(Eagly and Mladinic, 1994) and what creates discrimination is the mismatch, “lack of
t” model which creates prejudice towards women (Heilman, 2001). Female stereo-
typical traits including warmth and niceness are inconsistent with the attributes
connected with success. Thus, stereotypically nice women, when put in aleadership
position, are perceived inversely – as not being nice.
In Poland gender stereotypes are deeply imbedded in the perception of women and
men and their r in history, and now it is perceived as natural and obvious (Zachorowska-
-Mazurkiewicz, 2006). Typically women and girls in the family are given responsibility
for the private and emotional spheres, while men and boys are responsible for the nan-
cial support of the family. Working in the household became a“natural” domain of
women, leading to asituation where 21% of adult men in arelationship in Poland,
aged from 18 to 65, do not perform any household activities (Titkow, Duch-Krzystoszek
and Budrowska, 2004). Further research proved that the employment of women does
not change the division of tasks in ahousehold, moreover, even when the husband is
unemployed, while the wife works full time, still women are responsible for the majority
of housework (Balińska, 2007).
From another perspective it is believed that women are “naturally” worse leaders,
have more difculties with decision making, and have typical predispositions to take
care of children instead of taking care of the company. It is also believed that women
do not have adequate traits and predispositions to hold high and prestigious positions,
as being too emotional, chaotic and not assertive enough (Balińska, 2007).
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Anna Górska
Stereotypes may be especially important when talking about high, prestigious and
powerful positions such as leadership roles. The way employees, subordinates and col-
leagues, perceive women who are in such positions, may be an indicator of their
attitude and even performance.
Perception of women managers
Probably
the single most important hurdle for women in management in all indus-
trialized countries is the persistent stereotype that associates management with
being male – Berthoin and Izraeli (1993)
Women’s discrimination in managerial positions goes beyond barriers to enter higher
positions. Generally, women are perceived as worse leaders, due to the long standing
domination of this position by men, which have dened the styles that people have
been used to and therefore the traits which are associated with being agood leader
are typically masculine (Eagly and Johannesen-Schmidt, 2001). This belief fosters the
situation in which men exercise more leadership (Eagly and Carli, 2001) and are seen
as being aleader by default. Additionally, what creates an even more negative percep
-
tion of the female leader is the lack of compatibility. “People have similar beliefs about
leaders and men, but dissimilar beliefs about leaders and women” (Eagly, 2001). Atypical
leader should impose masculine traits, while women are feminine and this creates anot
coherent picture of the person, as aresult anegative performance expectations is
created which leads to biased evaluation of the performance and the negative attitude
towards aperson (Eagly, 2008).
The consequence of the biases against women, is that people diminish the work of female
managers, and in asituation when the value of work is impossible to be denied, people
attribute success to external factors rather than women’s abilities, and if even that is not
possible, afemale manager is disliked, rejected and seen as negative (Heilman, 2007).
The experiment at Harvard Business School by Professor Cameron Anderson and
Professor Frank Flynn, showed how gender may encourage different attitudes towards
successful individuals. Students were given the case study with the history of the suc-
cessful female entrepreneur Heidi Rozen. Half of the respondents received the case
with areal name, while the other half, with afake male name – Howard. Even though
the evaluation of the competences did not change with regard to the gender of the
analyzed entrepreneur, the attitude changed signicantly. Respondents considered
Howard to be more likable, and an appealing colleague. At the same time Heidi was
seen as selsh and “not atype of person you would want to hire or work for” (Flynn and
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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
Anderson, 2003). This experiment proved that for women, they either have to be suc-
cessful and competent or likeable, but rarely both, hence ”success and likability are
positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women” (Sandberg, 2013).
Persistence of sex stereotypes led organizations to allocate women within management
to afunction that is strongly linked to female stereotypes. In this respect, assigning
women to HRM offered asolution for organizations to deal with growing demands for
enhancing diversity within management without giving up the traditional classica-
tion of female and male work (Reichel, Brandl and Mayrhofer, 2005).
Method
The following pilot study is aimed at informing on the possible causes of the gender
disproportion in top managerial positions in Poland. This pilot study is aimed at
testing whether cultural biases may be inuential in the evaluation of identical can-
didates of different genders, whereas further research on alarger sample is needed.
The research method that has been chosen for this paper is due to show whether men
and women have the same possibilities in terms of getting ajob as men. Additionally
it will provide information about differences in perception, employability, likeability
and offered income. The author, basing on the previous experiment, reasoned that the
pervasive cultural messages regarding women’s role in society could lead managers
to present agender-biased attitude towards afemale candidate.
Pilot CV experiment
The present pilot study sought to test differences in perception and treatment of equally
qualied men and women, which are candidates for top managerial positions within
the company. The experiment was conducted in the native language of the participants
to minimize the error in the answers and not inuence the results. The questionnaire
was divided into 4 parts; a) hireability, b) offered income c) likeability d) comments.
Participants
The participants in this experiment were 52 MBA students from Kozminski University
in Warsaw. All of the participants have managerial experience, thus they were familiar
with the recruitment process. Participants were asked to read one time the story and
CV of arandomly ascribed candidate, either male (Karol, n=26) or female (Karolina,
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Anna Górska
n=26). Thus, each participant saw only one set of materials, from either amale or
female applicant, from which they were to evaluate the candidate.
Results
Asample of 52 respondents have evaluated the application materials of acandidate
for aCEO position. All participants received the same materials, which were randomly
assigned either with amale (n=26) or female (n=26) candidate. The gender of the
candidate was the only variable that differed the candidates. 19 questions were ana-
lysed, out of which 8 indicated statistically signicant differences (p<0,05). In order
to state whether the results between amale and female candidate for the CEO positions
are signicant, astudent t – test was conducted.
The questionnaire was divided into 4 parts for the purpose of simplifying the analysis
and all results are presented in the Appendix 1.
In part 1 participants rated acandidate’s employability, adequacy for the positions,
ability to cope on the position, chance for success and recommendation of the candi-
date to the company owner, on the scale from 1 to 5 (where 1 stood for NO and 5 for
YES). Out of six questions, one was statistically signicant (p<0,05), that regarding
becoming friends with the candidate.
On average, the male candidate was rated in this question 17% more favorably in com-
parison to women (p<0,05). Additionally, the number of respondents that rated the
candidate above 3 (rather yes and yes), was two times higher for the male candidate in
comparison the female one. Moreover, the results indicated anegative correlation between
the gender of the candidate and making friends with the candidate (corr.= -0.23),
which point out that the desire to make friends is positively correlated for men and
negatively for women.
The second part of the questionnaire, asked respondents about the offered income to
the male or female candidate for the CEO position. In order to minimize personal bias,
actional currency X was used in the description. In order to standardize data and
give participants areference point, they were provided with additional information
which was minimum and maximum wage. The following part of the questionnaire
indicated statistically signicant results (p<0.05) with regard to the gender of the
candidate and therefore the gender of the evaluated candidate inuenced responses.
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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
On average, the female candidate was offered 2264 x, while male candidate 2684 x
(p<0.05), which indicates a16% difference.
In the third part, respondents were asked to choose on the semantic differential, the
extent to which they would rate agiven candidate as likeable. Questions in this section
where constructed with positive and negative adjectives on the opposite sides of the
scale attitude. The middle value on the scale was 6, thus results below 6 indicated
anegative attitude, while above 6 apositive attitude. In the following part there were
11 questions, out of which 5 were signicantly inuenced by the gender of the candi-
date (p<0,05): perceived niceness, competence, friendliness, honesty and helpfulness.
All of the statistically signicant differences between perceived “likeability” of the
candidate in relation of candidates gender were favorable to the male candidate.
The highest discrepancy and signicance was observed in the perception on niceness
of candidates, where women were evaluated as not nice (average 5,56) in comparison
to men who were assessed as nice (average 7,12) (p<0.0001). 92% of all negative
responses (below 6) in regard to perceived niceness were ascribed to afemale candi-
date, in comparison, amale candidate received only one negative evaluation. In the
case of perceived competence, amale candidate did not indicate any negative responses,
in comparison to 8% of negative respondents on afemale’s candidacy (p<0.05). Moreover,
56% of respondents that were evaluating amale’s CV rated him with ahighest mark
(10), while in the case of afemale’s CV there were allocated only 16% of the highest
mark to her, which is a40 percentage point difference in the favor of amale candidate.
In the honesty evaluation, amale candidate did not arouse any negative attitudes, in
comparison to 12% of respondents who analyzed afemale CV (p<0.05). Afemale
candidate was also evaluated less favorably in helpfulness perception, when compared
to male candidate. Even though, on average amale and female candidate’s helpfulness
was still perceived in apositive way (average above 6), afemale CV indicated 44% of
negative responses, compared to 12% of males (p<0.05).
The last, fourth part of the questionnaire, gave the respondents the possibility to
verbalize their own attitude and opinion towards an evaluated candidate. Each opinion
was analyzed and evaluated as positive (1), negative (-1) or neutral (0). The results
indicated ahigh signicance value (p<0.001), which means that the gender of acan-
didate had asignicant effect on the negative or positive attitude towards acandidate.
Results from the analyzed comments of the participants, indicated signicant differe-
nces towards the candidates with regard to their gender. Afemale candidate elicited
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Anna Górska
anegative attitude, while the male one positive. On average, the male candidate had
amore positive attitude from the participants by 257%. Moreover, afemale candidate
was evaluated in anegative way in 48% of the cases, whilst in comparison amale can-
didate had no negative comments. Similarly, 44% of comments towards males were posi-
tive, in comparison to only 20% for females. The evaluation in the case of amale candi-
date was in the majority neutral, while in the case of afemale candidate it was negative.
When looking at the comments which were given to male and female candidates, it
was visible that afemale candidacy for the CEO position aroused more emotional
responses, compared to amale’s candidacy.
When it comes to the description of each candidate, males and females were evaluated
on different aspects. Therefore, when afemale candidate was positively evaluated she
was described as: loyal, hardworking and experienced. Meanwhile, amale candidate
who received positive responses was described as: intelligent, skillful, professional,
competent, nice and trustful. Thus, afemale candidate was appreciated for character-
istics that are easily measurable, while amale candidate was appreciated for soft issues
that are difcult to measure and verify. Among the negative characteristics allocated
to amale candidate as: indistinct, grey, fuzzy, without personality, and therefore all
negativity was built around his lack of personality. In the case of afemale candidate,
respondents were less sympathetic, describing her as: not nice, no potential, no authority,
closed, introver t, not aleader. In comparison to the fuzzy picture of the male candidate,
afemale candidacy gave abright, negative picture, where respondents were more
judgmental and critical. Afemale candidacy aroused not only amore negative attitude,
but most importantly, strong emotions between the respondents.
Discussion
As acontrolled experiment, this pilot study is the base for aresearch to ll the gap
in existing literature, which consists of experiments conducted among professors or
students. The present pilot is unique in investigating asubtle gender bias on the part
of MBA students, which are experienced in the eld of management.
The pilot study informs about possible causes of the gender disproportion in top
managerial positions in Poland. The results revealed that with no regard to the gender
of the participant, respondents judged afemale candidate less favorably in every
evaluated and statistically signicant aspect, in comparison to an identical male
candidate. The research points out that females may be judged less favorably as CEO
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Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
candidates, be offered less income and overall arise negative attitude. Thus, the result
suggests that gender bias against women on CEO positions prevails and may affect
the underrepresentation of females on higher positions in non-laboratory environment.
It should be emphasized that female respondents were just as likely as male respondents
to favor amale candidate and thus this suggests that bias against afemale candidate
was likely to be unintentional and generated from cultural stereotypes, rather than
hostility.
Furthermore, the study has presented similar results to an experiment which evaluated
the attitude towards asuccessful female entrepreneur at Harvard University (Flynn
and Anderson, 2003). This similarly presented that afemale on ahigher position faces
aless positive attitude and is judged as a‘non friend material’. The present study,
differs from the Harvard experiment in evaluation of competence. As in the case of
Harvard, there was no differences in the perceived competence between amale and
female entrepreneur, while in the present pilot study, afemale was evaluated as being
signicantly less competent. Differences in the results may arise from different factors,
starting from the fact that in Harvard an entrepreneur was analyzed on features up to
the differences in the respondents prole, which were undergraduate students in the
previous study.
Another study that was evaluating gender bias in the recruitment process, conducted
by C.A. Moss-Racusin et al. (2012), also presented results suggesting that males are
favored in regard to hireability, competence perception and offered income. The study
was conducted on Professors from the research intensive universities. Similar to the
following pilot study, afemale candidate was discriminated against in all sections,
with no regard to the gender of the respondents.
The previous works presented that women are perceived differently and less favorably
in professional settings, but none of the studies evaluated female candidates for aCEO
position among managers. By providing this investigation of abias against women for
CEO positions, the pilot study may be helpful in conducting further research and to
extend available research.
The presented ndings raise concerns about the situation of women as CEOs, as
although gender does not affect the employability rate, females are judged less favorably
and are less likeable. As aresult, when aleader arouses negative attitudes it leads to
poorer overall performance, less authority over the subordinates, and reluctance
towards the leadership (Eagly, 2001).
DOI: 10.7206/jmba.ce.2450-7814.187
28 JMBA.CE
Vol. 25, No. 1/2017
Anna Górska
This study raises the question as to whether women opt out of top management careers
in part because of negative attitude towards them?
Limitations
The fact that respondents were given actional story would have inuenced the out-
comes of the study. In non-laboratory situations, in deciding on the evaluation of the
candidate for the CEO position, much more in-depth information are analyzed. In the
last part of the questionnaire analysis, the subjectivity of the author in coding the com-
ments as positive, neutral or negative could not be omitted. As the presented study was
apilot test, broader research is needed.
Conclusions
The underrepresentation of women in top managerial positions, reects awasted
opportunity to benet from the capabilities of the best professionals, with no regards
to their gender.
Even though the glass ceiling in Europe and in United States is believed to be long
broken, women still face various barriers in reaching top managerial positions in
organizations. Despite the fact that women are better educated nowadays (also in mana-
gement) and are as ambitious as men are, there are still only afew of them in the most
prestigious and powerful positions in organizations.
As the pilot study suggests, afactor that may limit women from reaching high positions
is the perception of females. Women in Poland are still facing stereotypes which divide
men and women into stereotypical roles: home being anatural domain of awoman,
and the company of aman. This deeply imbedded archetype of awomen-polish mother,
affects the situation of women on the labor market, as they are judged by the employer
through the lenses of amother and wife and therefore may be seen as aless efcient
worker, due to additional non-payed work at home (Mazurkiewicz-Zachorowska, 2006).
Additionally, the “adequacy” of payment for men and women varries, due to the stereo-
typical division of roles: as men are responsible for nances, therefore women do not
have to be highly remunerated (Bartol, 1980).
The present pilot study found that the perception of awoman in society, may affect
the way they are evaluated as an potential employee. Due to the fact that society may
Vol. 25, No. 1/2017
DOI: 10.7206/jmba.ce.2450-7814.187
JMBA.CE 29
Perception of Women in Top Managerial Positions in Poland
not be used to female CEOs, the responses of participants towards female candidates
indicated high (in majority negative) emotions. The pilot study suggests that respon-
dents may not even be aware of the fact that their evaluation differs with regards to
the gender of the candidate, due to the fact that there are no differences in the evalua-
tion by women.
The perception of aleader, whether he/she is liked and accepted, directly inuences
how effective his/her work is. As aconsequence, subordinates may refuse women’s
leadership, which will decrease the effectiveness, resulting in women themselves
doubting their own abilities.
The wage gap, less women on the labor market and the low percentage of women in
top management positions or boards of directors, are only the results of adistorted
perception of the female role in society. In order to limit the discrimination of women
on the labor market, the perception of women has to rst be changed.
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Appendix
Table 1.
Average and signicance of the rst part of the questionnaire
nmale candidate condition = 25 nfemale candidate condition = 25
min-
max
male
average
female
average
difference
male-female
signicance
value
becoming friends
with candidate 1–5 3,6 3 0,6 p<0,05
employability 1–5 3,32 2,8 0,52 p>0,05
adequate
for position 1–5 3,2 3,08 0,12 p>0,05
ability to cope
in the position 1–5 3,56 3,32 0,24 p>0,05
chance for success 1–5 3,8 3,64 0,16 p>0,05
recommendation
of candidate 1–5 3,24 2,8 0,44 p>0,05
Source: author’s own work.
DOI: 10.7206/jmba.ce.2450-7814.187
32 JMBA.CE
Vol. 25, No. 1/2017
Anna Górska
Table 2.
Average and signicance value of the second part of the questionnaire
nmale candidate condition = 25 nfemale candidate condition = 25
min-max male
average
female
average
difference
male-female
signicance
value
offered monthly
income in X 0–3500 2684 2264 420 p<0,05
Source: author’s own work.
Table 3.
Average and signicance of the third part of the questionnaire
nmale candidate condition = 25 nfemale candidate condition = 25
min-max male
average
female
average
difference
male-female
signicance
value
nice 1–10 7,1 2 5,56 1,56 p<0,0001
competent 1–10 9,16 8,08 1,08 p<0,01
friendly 1–10 6,36 5,2 1,16 p<0,01
honest 1–10 9,12 8,16 0,96 p<0,05
helpful 1–10 7,68 6,32 1,36 p<0,05
interesting 1–10 6,84 6,04 0,8 p>0,05
intelligent 1–10 8,76 8,48 0,28 p>0,05
moral 1–10 8,08 7,32 0,76 p>0,05
conicting 1–10 3,64 4,28 -0,64 p>0,05
career oriented 1–10 3,8 4,68 -0,88 p>0,05
supportive 1–0 7,16 6,28 0,88 p>0,05
Source: author’s own work.
Table 4.
Average and signicance value of the fourth part of the questionnaire.
Scale: 1 represents positive attitude, 0 neutral and –1 negative attitude
nmale candidate condition = 25 nfemale candidate condition = 25
min-max male
average
female
average
difference
male-female
signicance
value
attitude positive,
neutral, negative -1 to 1 0.44 -0.28 0.72 p<0.001
Source: author’s own work.
... The stereotypical perception of women in positions of power continues to pose a significant obstacle on their paths to success and advancement [Baskiewicz 2013;Heilman and Parks-Stamm 2007;Tabassum and Nayak 2021]. Studies show that women are believed to be less assertive and less competent [Górska 2017] and are less often seen as leaders [Koenig et al. 2011;Butterfield 1984,1989;Schein 2007]. The congruity model [Eagly and Karau 2002] and the lack-offit model [Heilman, Block, Martell 1995;Heilman 2001] point out the divergences between the stereotypical perception of a leader and the stereotypical perception of women. ...
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