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Man up and take it: Gender bias in moral typecasting

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Informed by moral typecasting theory, we predicted a gender bias in harm evaluation, such that women are more easily categorized as victims and men as perpetrators. Study 1 participants assumed a harmed target was female (versus male), but especially when labeled ‘victim’. Study 2 participants perceived animated shapes perpetuating harm as male and victimized shapes as female. Study 3 participants assumed a female employee claiming harassment was more of a victim than a male employee making identical claims. Female victims were expected to experience more pain from an ambiguous joke and male perpetrators were prescribed harsher punishments (Study 4). Managers were perceived as less moral when firing female (versus male) employees (Study 5). The possibility of gender discrimination intensified the cognitive link between women and victimhood (Study 6). Across six studies in four countries (N = 3,137), harm evaluations were systematically swayed by targets’ gender, suggesting a gender bias in moral typecasting.
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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp
Man up and take it: Gender bias in moral typecasting
Tania Reynolds
a,b,
, Chuck Howard
c
, Hallgeir Sjåstad
d
, Luke Zhu
e
, Tyler G. Okimoto
f
,
Roy F. Baumeister
f
, Karl Aquino
c
, JongHan Kim
g
a
University of New Mexico, Psychology Department, United States
b
Indiana University Bloomington, Kinsey Institute and Gender Studies Department, United States
c
University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business, Canada
d
Norwegian School of Economics and Center for Applied Research at NHH, Norway
e
York University, Schulich School of Business, Canada
f
The University of Queensland, Australia
g
Coastal Carolina University, Department of Psychology, United States
ARTICLE INFO
Keywords:
Moral typecasting
Gender stereotypes
Victimization
Punishment
Justice
Morality
Bias
ABSTRACT
Informed by moral typecasting theory, we predicted a gender bias in harm evaluation, such that women are
more easily categorized as victims and men as perpetrators. Study 1 participants assumed a harmed target was
female (versus male), but especially when labeled victim. Study 2 participants perceived animated shapes
perpetuating harm as male and victimized shapes as female. Study 3 participants assumed a female employee
claiming harassment was more of a victim than a male employee making identical claims. Female victims were
expected to experience more pain from an ambiguous joke and male perpetrators were prescribed harsher
punishments (Study 4). Managers were perceived as less moral when ring female (versus male) employees
(Study 5). The possibility of gender discrimination intensied the cognitive link between women and victimhood
(Study 6). Across six studies in four countries (N= 3,137), harm evaluations were systematically swayed by
targetsgender, suggesting a gender bias in moral typecasting.
1. Introduction
The general public, shareholders, media pundits, and organizational
scholars are seemingly united in demanding managers treat employees
impartially. When managers are suspected of acting otherwise, as when
they hire or promote contingently based on irrelevant factors such as
employeesrace or gender, observers are quick to charge them with
discrimination. Researchers have devoted much eort to documenting
how gender stereotypes impair evaluatorsability to view women as
competent leaders, hindering ascension to the highest levels of orga-
nizations (Eagly & Karau, 2002; Heilman, 2001). Beyond demonstrating
impartiality when making selection and promotion decisions, managers
are also increasingly expected to demonstrate impartial concern about
the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of employees.
Yet, despite exhortations to act without prejudice, in practice, it is
dicult to achieve these lofty goals. Even a cursory reading of the or-
ganizational justice literature reveals managers routinely violate im-
partiality, which many philosophers and management scholars consider
a prerequisite for logical reasoning, the proper administration of justice,
and moral virtue. For this reason, it is a pressing concern for organi-
zational scholars to document how managerial decision-making can be
swayed from impartiality.
Decades of research reveal the failure to adopt an impartial spec-
tators perspective is a seemingly intractable feature of human psy-
chology. Impartiality is compromised by unconscious forces that pro-
duce systematic biases in judgment. We dene bias as a systematic
deviation from rational consistency, whereby judgment is inuenced by
factors irrelevant to the ostensible goal (Thaler, 2015). Researchers
have identied a host of automatic cognitive processes constructed by
natural selection to facilitate rapid, reexive decision making
(Kahneman, 2011; Haidt, 2012; Hauser, 2006). When evaluating moral
events, which we dene as situations involving harm, peoples reliance
on mental shortcuts can lead them to exhibit what Bazerman and
Tenbrunsel (2011) refer to as ethical blind spots, even among those of
professed goodwill.
In this paper, we examine one type of mental shortcut, moral type-
casting (Gray & Wegner, 2009), to investigate whether observers exhibit
a gender bias in their assessments of moral events. The moral
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2020.05.002
Received 17 January 2018; Received in revised form 15 May 2020; Accepted 18 May 2020
Corresponding author at: Kinsey Institute and Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, 430 Lindley Hall, 150 S. Woodlawn Ave.,
Bloomington, IN 47405, United States.
E-mail address: tareyn@iu.edu (T. Reynolds).
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
0749-5978/ Published by Elsevier Inc.
T
typecasting framework proposes that humans instinctively perceive
moral behavior through a cognitive template, in which they cast parties
into the dyadic roles of intentional agentor suering patient.We
hypothesize that gender stereotypes and base rates of harm facilitate
categorizing women into the role of suering patient and men into the
role of perpetrating agent, which leads decision-makers to exhibit sys-
tematic biases in applying this template. When evaluating harm, per-
ceivers will be swayed by the involved targetsgender to more readily
categorize women as victims and men as perpetrators than the con-
verse. As a result, managers might unknowingly exhibit ethical blind
spots by more readily detecting and more emphatically responding to
female victimization and male perpetration than male victimization or
female perpetration.
Previous studies demonstrate that moral typecasting is a reexively
employed cognitive prototype, but less research has examined whether
it is subject to bias (but see FeldmanHall et al., 2016). If our hypothesis
is supported, it would suggest victims of harm receive dierential levels
of concern, support, and retributive punishment due to factors beyond
their control. In their moral calculus of harm suered by male or female
employees, managers may not weigh these outcomes impartially. We
predict that perpetrators of harm will be more easily exculpated for
their misdeeds if they do not conform heuristically to the perpetrator
role or if their targets do not conform heuristically to the victim role.
This gender bias in moral typecasting could thus impair managers
ability to act justly when adjudicating workplace disputes, responding
to accusations of harm, and deciding on appropriate remedial action.
This bias may also aect policy-makers and legislators who must decide
which harms warrant attention, resources, and intervention. For these
reasons, our research has implications for the well-being of millions
around the world.
2. Theoretical background
2.1. Moral typecasting
The moral typecasting hypothesis contends that observers perceive
and interpret moral actions and events through a dyadic template (Gray
& Wegner, 2009), in which they apply a cognitive schema that casts
involved persons into the roles of intentional agentor suering pa-
tient.This schema is a prototype observers apply when one or more
parties appears to experience harm. Observers apply this dyadic tem-
plate to categorize actors depending on the features of the situation and
characteristics of those actors. Moral typecasting theory further posits
that the roles of agent and patient are mutually exclusive, meaning that
when observers perceive an individual as an agent, they are less likely
to view that same individual as a patient, and vice versa.
The application of the dyadic template has practical consequences
because the roles of agent and patient evoke divergent emotional re-
sponses and moral judgments from observers. Those assigned to the
patient category are expected to experience more pain and suering,
thereby eliciting greater sympathy, compared to those typecast into the
agentic role (Gray & Wegner, 2009). Patients can therefore be con-
strued as victimsof harm whereas agents are construed as perpe-
tratorswho are responsible, intentional, and deserving of blame and
punishment (Gray, Gray, & Wegner, 2007; Gray & Wegner, 2011).
These categorizations inuence how observers subsequently evaluate
and respond to the actors assigned to these roles.
Although Gray and colleagues argue the dyadic template is a gen-
eral schema employed for evaluating moral actions, they also suggest
that features that make harm salient should decrease the moral ac-
ceptability of actions(p. 209; Gray, Waytz, & Young, 2012). Put an-
other way, observers may not always respond to harm evenhandedly
and instead exhibit asymmetric patterns of outrage or sympathy when a
victims harm is particularly salient. If moral responses can be swayed
by situational factors such as harm salience, it is possible asymmetries
might also result from the degree to which targets t the prototypical
examples of agent or patient. This relative degree of prototypicality
may inuence the cognitive ease with which observers categorize in-
dividuals into each role and recognize suering. We contend that
gender carries a multitude of stereotypical associations relevant for
assigning people into agent and patient roles. We hypothesize that
gender stereotypes facilitate womens being typecast as victims and
mens being typecast as perpetrators. If so, gendered typecasting should
result in a greater ease of detecting womens (versus mens) victimi-
zation and mens (versus womens) perpetration. This prototypicality
should shape moral judgments, such that womenssuering evokes
greater sympathy and mens perpetration harsher punishments.
2.2. Men as agents
Throughout history and still today, men have been perceived as
more agentic than women. Explicit notions of masculinity include traits
such as dominance, individualism, force, self-suciency, and ambition
(Bem, 1974; Heilman, 2001; Rudman & Kilianski, 2000). People also
hold these beliefs at subconscious levels and implicitly associate men
more closely with power than women (Rudman, Greenwald, & McGhee,
2001). Men are more likely to view themselves as agentic than are
women, endorsing self-descriptions such as active, independent and
decisive (Abele, 2003). Across cultures, men more strongly value
power, achievement, and self-direction than do women, suggesting men
may more ardently strive for agentic roles (Schwartz & Rubel, 2005).
Cross-cultural behavioral data demonstrate that men are more physi-
cally active and physically aggressive than women (Archer, 2004;
Bauman et al., 2012), providing empirical support for gendered social
expectations.
Gender stereotypes mirror these discrepancies in behavior, as mas-
culinity is often characterized by perceptions of activity and aggression
(Bem, 1974; Bosson, Vandello, Burnaford, Weaver, & Arzu Wasti,
2009). Implicitly, individuals associate men with threat, violence, de-
struction, and angerassociations congruent with the perpetrator role
(Rudman & Goodwin, 2004; Rudman et al., 2001). Mens morphology
may strengthen these associations as their bodies have higher propor-
tions of lean muscle mass on average than do womens(Lassek &
Gaulin, 2009). People perceive muscular, compared to leaner, in-
dividuals as less vulnerable, experience less pity in response to their
suering, and are less motivated to protect them (Dijker, 2001). These
patterns suggest people around the world perceive men as more agentic
and aggressive than womentraits congruent with the perpetrator role.
If men are more readily typecast as agents, then this categorization
should have consequences for third partiesmoral responses. Because
the dyadic template roles are mutually exclusive, mens association
with agency should impair their being typecast as passive victims (Gray
& Wegner, 2009). For example, agency predicts perceptions of control,
which increases perceptions of responsibility (Smith & Ellsworth, 1985)
and attributions of blame (Gray et al., 2007; Gray & Wegner, 2011).
Perceivers may blame men more than women for whatever misfortunes
befall them and feel less motivated to alleviate the consequent suering
(Cappelen, Falch, & Tungodden, 2017; Weiner, 1980). When targets are
perceived as responsible for harm, they evoke less sympathy and aid, as
well as more anger from observers (Rudolph, Roesch, Greitemeyer, &
Weiner, 2004). To the degree then that men are viewed as more agentic
than women, men should also be assumed to have greater control and
responsibility in harm-related contexts. If so, menssuering may evoke
less sympathy than equivalent suering by women. Indeed, people
expect men to have higher tolerance for pain than women, are more
willing to administer shocks to men, and preferentially sacrice men in
trolley dilemmas (FeldmanHall et al., 2016). This relative inability to
perceive men as victims should not only reduce observerssympathetic
responses to menssuering, but should also impair mens ability to
request others reduce or recompense it because such demands are in-
appropriate for those typecast as perpetrators.
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
121
2.3. Women as patients
In contrast to male gender stereotypes, female stereotypes tradi-
tionally depict women as possessing characteristics consistent with the
patient role. The social construct of femininity is associated with traits
such as tender, yielding, gentle, and warm (Bem, 1974; Heilman, 2001;
Rudman & Goodwin, 2004; Rudman & Kilianski, 2000). These percep-
tions are consistent with the women are wonderful" eect, whereby
women are viewed favorably because they are assumed to be warm, but
not agentic (Eagly & Mladinic, 1989, 1994). Perceptions of high
warmth and low agency produce increased pity from social partners
(Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2007). Furthermore, those who perceive women
as warm but not agentic tend to hold more favorable explicit and im-
plicit attitudes towards women (Rudman & Goodwin, 2004; Rudman &
Kilianski, 2000).
Compared to men, adult women are perceived as more child-like,
vulnerable, and pain sensitive, and thus evoke more pity and protective
inclinations (Bem, 1974; Dijker, 2001, 2010; FeldmanHall et al., 2016).
Some portion of womens greater perceived vulnerability may stem
from their facial morphology. On average, womens faces possess more
cues of neoteny or juvenility, including large eyes, small chins, and
small noses (Cunningham, Roberts, Barbee, Druen, & Wu, 1995;
Tanner, 1978). These facial features are often viewed as cues of naiveté,
and they prompt warm and helpful responses from social partners
(Berry & McArthur, 1985; Cunningham, 1986; Keating, Randall,
Kendrick, & Gutshall, 2003). Such prosocial responses to neotenous
features likely stemmed from evolutionary pressures to protect and care
for vulnerable ospring (Berry & McArthur, 1985; Bowlby, 1969).
From an evolutionary perspective, individuals may feel more
strongly motivated to protect women than men from harm because
women set the upper limit on reproduction (Burnstein, Crandall, &
Kitayama, 1994). Women are responsible for pregnancy, childbirth, and
lactation, and therefore contribute substantially to reproduction. Con-
sider a social group comprised of only three women, but twenty men.
This groups total reproductive success is limited to the few children the
three women could bear. Another group comprised of twenty women
and only three men could substantially out-reproduce the former. The
discrepancy in mens and womens reproductive contribution may have
favored motivations to protect women from harm. Indeed, people feel a
stronger motivation to help women over men, but this gender bias
disappears when considering toddlers or elderly individuals, life stages
when females are not fertile (Burnstein et al., 1994; Dijker, 2001,
2010). This particular pattern suggests that the preference to protect
women over men may stem from evolutionary pressures to insulate
reproductively valuable individuals from harm.
If managers and other observers view women as more vulnerable
than men, they should nd it cognitively easier to typecast women as
patients, resulting in a greater likelihood of detecting womens victi-
mization, and perhaps, stronger motivations to alleviate female suf-
fering. Perceptions of a targets vulnerability predict pity, concern and
moral anger (towards the harm-doer) in response to that targets suf-
fering (Dijker, 2001, 2010). Researchers have argued that such com-
passion reects evolutionary motivations to protect and aid the weak
(Goetz, Keltner, Simon-Thomas, 2010; Haidt, 2003; Krebs, 2008). Not
only do perceptions of victimhood and feelings of sympathy increase
motivation to help suerers, they also decrease blame ascriptions and
punitive motivations toward suerers (Gray & Wegner, 2011; Rudolph
et al., 2004). This pattern suggests if third parties more readily perceive
women (vs. men) as victims, female (vs. male) suering will more easily
be recognized and evoke greater sympathy. Likewise, female (vs. male)
perpetration of harm will be less easily recognized and more readily
excused.
The preceding arguments lead us to hypothesize that individuals
will exhibit a biased application of moral typecasting, such that women
are more readily typecast as victims, while men are more readily
typecast as perpetrators. It is worth noting that this bias is not
independent from true base rates of harm or gender stereotypes. Rather,
we contend that harm base rates, such as the greater male perpetration
of physical aggression and workplace bullying (Archer, 2004;
Workplace Bullying Institute, 2017), contribute to this application of
moral typecasting, such that men more closely t the cognitive proto-
type of perpetrator. Similarly, gender stereotypes of women as tender
and men as dominant (Bem, 1974) likely exacerbate the cognitive ex-
pectation of women as victims and men as perpetrators. Importantly, if
the cognitive prototypes of victims and perpetrators are gendered,
evaluators may not respond to equivalent harms with similar concern or
condemnation, even when men and women are involved in identical
situations.
The patterns described above suggest female employees, more so
than male, will be the beneciaries of certain types of moral responses
including greater recognition of and sympathy towards their suering.
For example, in ambiguous workplace conicts where both parties
claim victimhood, male employees, on average, will more likely be cast
as perpetrators, rather than suerers of harm. If so, male employees
may receive disproportionately harsher punishments and dis-
proportionately lower recompense or forbearance than female em-
ployees. The main goal of the current investigation was to examine this
possibility across various contexts involving men and women as po-
tential agents/perpetrators and patients/victims of harm.
2.4. Participant gender and asymmetric moral typecasting
Beyond testing for a general pattern of biased moral typecasting, we
also examined whether male and female observers would be equally
likely to demonstrate this bias. Competing hypotheses could be gener-
ated. On one hand, men score higher than women in benevolent sexism,
as measured by items such as women should be cherished and pro-
tected by men, suggesting men might be especially inclined to cast
women into the victim role (Glick & Fiske, 1996; Rudman & Kilianski,
2000). On the other hand, women show stronger in-group biases than
men, such that they exhibit greater implicit and explicit favoritism to-
ward women, whereas men exhibit more gender-neutral attitudes
(Cappelen et al., 2017; Nosek & Banaji, 2002; Richeson & Ambady,
2001; Rudman & Goodwin, 2004). Furthermore, women report ex-
periencing greater prejudice directed at their gender group than do men
across a variety of social contexts (Kobrynowicz & Branscombe, 1997;
Schmitt, Branscombe, Kobrynowicz, & Owen, 2002). Such experiences
of collective victimization may suggest women detect female victimi-
zation across situations, and therefore more readily typecast women
(vs. men) into the patient role. We tested which of these competing
hypotheses would be supported.
3. Overview of studies
Study 1 examined whether the cognitive prototype of victim is fe-
male rather than male, by testing whether participants assumed a
gender-unspecied target of workplace harm was a woman. Study 1
tested whether this gendered expectation would be amplied when
harm was made salient by describing actors as victimand perpe-
trator.Study 2 employed a cross-cultural sample to examine whether
participants would exhibit a biased application of moral typecasting
when evaluating animated trianglesinteractions, stripped of huma-
nizing characteristics. Study 3 investigated moral typecasting in a
workplace dispute where victimization was ambiguous, and included a
search for a boundary condition of the gender bias (a neurologically-
impaired individual). Study 4 manipulated the genders of both a per-
petrator and target of an ambiguous joke to examine downstream
consequences of moral typecasting, such as expectations about suering
and willingness to punish the alleged perpetrator. Study 5 tested whe-
ther the biased application of moral typecasting extends to harm suf-
fered by groups by examining whether red female employees are as-
sumed to suer more than a group of red male employees. Participants
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
122
also evaluated the morality of the managerial team who reached this
decision and made inferences about the teams gender composition.
Last, Study 6 sought to rule out an alternative explanation to biased
application of moral typecasting: possible gender discrimination.
Participants evaluated a scenario whereby managers red either male
or female employees from a male-dominated (chemical manufacturing)
or female-dominated (nursing) occupation to examine whether cues
suggesting gender discrimination either explain or amplify the gender
bias in moral typecasting.
Across all six studies on gender-based moral typecasting
(N= 3,137), we also explored whether male or female participants
would exhibit larger asymmetries in their evaluations of harm. We re-
port all measures, conditions, and exclusions in all studies, and always
followed APA ethical guidelines.
4. Study 1
If women more closely match the cognitive prototype of victim than
do men, then third parties should be more likely to assume a gender-
unspecied target who experiences harm (i.e., a victim) is a woman
than a man. This pattern should be most pronounced when harm is
made salient by explicitly labeling actors as victimand perpetratoras
opposed to using more neutral terms (i.e., party). Furthermore, if
women are more easily typecast as victims, their harm should evoke
more tender responses than men who experience the same harm.
Study 1 participants read vignettes depicting workplace harm, in
which the labeling of the targets was experimentally manipulated (IV-
1), such that they were described either as victim/perpetratoror Party
A/Party B. Within the vignettes, we also experimentally manipulated
the gender of the oender (IV-2) to examine whether perpetrator fea-
tures shift assumptions of victim gender. Participants indicated whether
they believed the harmed individual was a man or woman, along with
their assessments of the target. We predicted people would assume a
female victim, but especially when the targets were labeled perpe-
trator/victim. Furthermore, we hypothesized that those who assumed a
female (versus male) victim would perceive the harm as less deserved
and evaluate her more favorably.
4.1. Method
4.1.1. Participants and design.
Three hundred American residents (48% female, M
age
= 36.7 years)
participated in an online survey through Amazons MTurk. Participants
completed a comprehension check immediately after instructions to
verify engagement; the survey was automatically terminated if re-
spondents failed this check, and data collection continued until 300
valid cases were reached. Participants were randomly assigned to the
cells of a 2 (oender gender) × 2 (target labeling: victim/perpetrator
vs. Party A/B) between-groups design.
4.1.2. Procedure
After providing consent and basic demographic information, parti-
cipants read a scenario depicting workplace conict written from the
perspective of the victim. The instructions experimentally manipulated
the labeling of the involved individuals (parentheses indicate alternate
condition):
We are seeking your views about the victim and the perpetrator (major
parties) in formal complaints. You will be presented with a direct quote
from an actual victim (employee). As you read the case, please consider
your thoughts and feelings about both the perpetrator and the victim
(parties) of the conict.
Next, participants read one of three scenarios, randomly varied to
improve the generalizability of the results. Scenario 1 depicted a senior
surgeon bullying a surgery trainee in the operating room to the point
that the trainee developed suicidal tendencies and depression. Scenario
2 depicted a retail manager forcing an employee to perform tasks that
aggravated the employees preexisting medical conditions, causing the
employee to ultimately transfer and take unpaid medical leave.
Scenario 3 depicted a postal worker who verbally abused a coworker
and led a false harassment claim to get the coworker red, leading the
coworker to develop an anxiety disorder. Importantly, the scenarios
experimentally manipulated the gender of the oender, but avoided
gender pronouns when describing the victim.
4.1.3. Dependent measures
After reading the scenario, participants completed a series of items
assessing perceptions of the involved targets. (See Appendix for addi-
tional measures, which were outside the scope of the primary hy-
potheses).
4.1.3.1. Perceived victim gender. Participants responded to a
dichotomous item: To the best of your recollection, was [the victim /
Party A] in this case male or female?
4.1.3.2. Victim deservingness. Participants responded to ve ad hoc
questions assessing victim deservingness (α= 0.81) using a 7-point
scale (1 = not at all,7=very much): 1) Perhaps [the target] deserved what
happened;2)It seems clear that this ought to have happened to [the target];
3) [The target] may, in some way, have deserved what happened in this
situation;4)[The target]'s behavior in no way warrants what occurred
(reverse); 5) It is possible that [the target] was partly responsible for his/her
suering.
4.1.3.3. Aective reactions. Participants provided their feelings toward
the victim on a 10-item attitude scale (α= 0.88; Philpot & Hornsey,
2008). Participants indicated the degree to which they felt: positive,
happy,warm,good,goodwill,negative[rc], cold[rc], angry[rc], bitter[rc],
resentment[rc] on 7-point scales (1 = not at all,7=very much).
4.1.3.4. Moral character judgments. Participants rated the victims
moral character on 7-point scales (1 = not at all,7=very much):
moral,decent,of good quality,honorable,worthy of respect,immoral[rc],
appalling[rc], malicious[rc], and worthless[rc] (α= 0.77; Philpot &
Hornsey, 2008).
4.2. Results
4.2.1. Female victim assumption
First, we examined participantsvictim gender assumptions by
testing the ratio of observed versus expected (50:50) gender categor-
ization. A chi-square analysis indicated participants generally assumed
a female victim [76% (72:228) χ
2
(1) = 81.12, p< .001], supporting
the predicted cognitive link between women and victimhood.
4.2.2. Female victim assumption is amplied by victim/oender labels
Next, we examined whether expectations of the harmed targets
gender diered based on targetslabeling through a logistic regression
analysis that simultaneously considered labeling, oender gender, their
interaction, and control variables (scenario, participant gender). See
Table 1 for full results. Step 1 examined the eect of labeling on victim
gender assumptions. Supporting hypotheses, participants were more
likely to assume a female victim when the targets were labeled perpe-
trator/victim compared to party A/B [B = 0.373, Wald(1) = 7.154,
p= .007; odds ratio = 1.452]. Step 2 entered oender gender and the
oender gender × labeling interaction. Labeling remained a signicant
predictor of assumed victim gender [B = 0.369, Wald(1) = 6.037,
p= .014; odds ratio = 1.446]. Oender gender also signicantly pre-
dicted victim gender, such that participants were more likely to assume
a female victim when the oender was female [B = 0.573, Wald
(1) = 6.037, p< .001; odds ratio = 1.774]. These two main eects
were not qualied by a signicant oender gender × labeling
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
123
interaction [B = 0.087, Wald(1) = 0.34, p= .562; odds
ratio = 0.917]. Step 3 entered scenario dummy codes and participant
gender as control variables, and both predicted victim gender as-
sumptions. Participants assumed a female victim more often in response
to the medical scenario compared to the retail and postal scenarios.
Female participants were marginally more likely to assume the victim
was female compared to male participants. However, including these
variables did not eliminate the eect of labeling [B = 0.384, Wald
(1) = 6.125, p= .013; odds ratio = 1.469].
4.2.3. Perceived deservingness
An ANCOVA tested the eect of oender gender and assumed victim
gender (and their interaction) on victim deservingness (with label,
scenario, and participant gender as covariates). The female victim was
perceived as less deserving of harm (M
estimated
= 1.79, SE = 0.065) than
the male victim (M
estimated
= 2.22, SE = 0.128), F(1,293) = 8.552,
p= .004, η
2
p
= .028. However, there was no signicant eect of of-
fender gender, nor an interaction between oender and victim gender,
Fs < 0.09.
4.2.4. Aective and moral responses
Last, we examined the association between participantsvictim
gender assumptions and their aective responses to and moral judg-
ments of the victim. Analysis of covariance (using labeling, scenario,
participant gender, oender gender, and the oender/victim-gender
interaction as covariates) indicated participants felt more warmly to-
ward the victim when they assumed a female (M
estimated
= 5.85,
SE = 0.06) versus male victim (M
estimated
= 5.49, SE = 0.12), F
(1,293) = 7.15, p= .008, η
2
p
= .024. Mediation analysis (Preacher &
Hayes, 2008) revealed a signicant indirect eect from victim/perpe-
trator labeling, through assumed victim gender, to aective reactions
toward that victim, B= 0.021, SE = 0.021, CI
95
= 0.0030.055. This
nding is consitent with the interpretation that labeling the targets as
perpetrator/victim increased participantslikelihood of assuming a fe-
male victim, which increased positive feelings towards the victim (see
Fig. 1). Participants also perceived the victim as more moral when they
assumed a female (M
estimated
= 5.76, SE = 0.045) versus male victim
(M
estimated
= 5.45, SE = 0.088), F(1,293) = 10.106, p= .002,
η
2
p
= .033. Mediation analysis again indicated a signicant indirect ef-
fect from victim/perpetrator labeling, through assumed victim gender,
to moral judgments of the victim, B= 0.018, SE = 0.010,
CI
95
= 0.0040.045.
4.3. Discussion
Study 1 provided preliminary support for the biased application of
moral typecasting. Across three scenarios, participants were more likely
to assume a harmed target was female than male, but particularly when
the targets were explicitly labeled perpetrator/victim (as opposed to
party A/B). This nding suggests that activating a cognitive prototype
of harm increases the likelihood of typecasting females as victims.
Participants were especially likely to assume a female victim when the
perpetrator was also a woman, which corresponds to extant data on
workplace bullying (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2017). That is, al-
though women are less likely to perpetrate workplace bullying, when
they do, they are twice as likely to target other women than men. These
patterns support the possibility that base rates of harm contribute to
gendered stereotypes of victims and perpetrators. Regarding observers
gender, female participants were slightly more likely than men to as-
sume a female victim, suggesting the hypothesized moral typecasting
bias occurs more strongly among women. However, this eect was only
marginally signicant, so further evidence is required before we can
condently draw this conclusion. Of note, participantsassumption of a
female victim shifted their aective reactions to and moral assessments
of the aicted target. Those who assumed a female (as opposed to
male) victim felt more warmth toward the victim as well as perceived
the victim as more moral and less deserving of harm, suggesting that
when harmed individuals more (versus less) closely t the cognitive
prototype of victim, certain moral responses are amplied.
One limitation of Study 1 was that it relied on social scenarios which
may have activated extraneous gender stereotypes that articially in-
ated the likelihood of assuming a female victim. For example, one
scenario described a surgeon bullying a surgical trainee. Knowledge of
gender discrepancies in positions of power may have facilitated the
assumption a female would be in a subordinate role, thereby inuen-
cing participantsexpectations independently of moral typecasting.
Although gender base rates may limit the generalizability of Study 1s
ndings, the greater assumption of a female victim in response to la-
beling the parties as victim/perpetrator nonetheless suggests the biased
application of moral typecasting is amplied when features of harm are
made salient.
5. Study 2
Study 2 eliminated many of the humanizing features of the stimuli
(and thereby reduce the inuence of extraneous gender stereotypes) to
provide a more conservative test of the hypothesized gender bias in
moral typecasting. Study 2 used three videos of animated shapes to
represent social actors. Study 2 also extended the scope of Study 1 by
examining the perpetrator side of moral typecasting to assess whether
individuals would not only be more likely to typecast victims as female,
but also typecast perpetrators as male. Moreover, we used a cross-cul-
tural sample of Chinese and Norwegian participants, allowing us to
evaluate whether the biased application of moral typecasting may
constitute a universal feature of social cognition.
The Chinese managers and Norwegian students each evaluated a
series of three brief videos depicting interactions between two triangles,
ostensibly representing the interaction of a male and female coworker
in an organization. We varied the specics of the harm context to de-
termine whether gendered assumptions are unique to one type of harm
(e.g., single perpetration, where A harms B) or extend to more ambig-
uous forms of harm (e.g., retaliation). In response to each video, par-
ticipants provided perceptions of each triangles perpetration and vic-
timization, and then classied each as male or female. We hypothesized
that perceptions of a triangles victimization would predict typecasting
that triangle as female, whereas perceptions of perpetration would
predict typecasting that triangle as male. We pre-registered these hy-
potheses on AsPredicted.org
1
(https://aspredicted.org/tc97r.pdf).
Table 1
Results of study 1s logistic regression.
Predictor B SE Wald Odds ratio
Step 1 Labeling 0.373 0.140 7.154 1.452*
Step 2 Labeling 0.369 0.150 6.037 1.446*
Oender Gender 0.573 0.150 14.605 1.774*
Labeling × OGender 0.087 0.150 0.337 0.917
Step 3 Labeling 0.384 0.155 6.125 1.469*
Oender Gender 0.609 0.156 15.262 1.838*
Labeling × OGender 0.146 0.156 0.874 0.864
Scene 2 dummy 1.048 0.408 6.600 0.351*
Scene 3 dummy 1.628 0.395 16.970 0.196*
Participant Gender 0.520 0.299 3.029 1.682
*p< .05.
p< .10.
1
The reported analyses diverged from the pre-registration because the nested
nature of the data (participants viewed multiple videos and comprised two
samples) required multi-level modeling.
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
124
5.1. Method
5.1.1. Participants
Sample A consisted of 264 Chinese managers, enrolled in a part-
time MBA program in Northern China. One hundred and four were
men, (153 women, 7 missing), averaging 32.7 years of age
(SD = 6.12 years). Sample B consisted of 138 Norwegian university
students, 110 (80%) of which were women. Thus, our total sample for
our within-subject design included 402 individuals with 263 (65%)
women. Due to an error in Sample Bs survey, demographic data were
not collected from Norwegian participants. Although we could ascer-
tain the gender breakdown of the sample based on who accepted the
study invitations, we could not link gender or age to each participants
respective data. Studies using this same Norwegian sample typically
show an age range of around 2026 years (Sjåstad & Baumeister, 2018).
5.1.2. Procedure
Participants evaluated three brief videos depicting the interactions
of two animated triangles. Early pioneering work established that
people instinctively attribute human attributes, including motivation
and agency, to animated objects (Heider & Simmel, 1944). All in-
structions and measures were translated into each samples native
language (Chinese or Norwegian). Before viewing the videos, partici-
pants were told that the scenes represented the interaction of a male
and female co-worker in an organization, and that scenes might include
interactions in which one party experienced psychological, nonphysical
harm as a result of the other partys behavior. We specied that the
harm was not physical to avoid activating gender stereotypes about
perpetrators of physical aggression. In each video, an orange triangle
left its respective area (oce/cubicle) to enter a common area. Next,
the green triangle left its respective area to meet the orange triangle in
the common area. The subsequent behavior of the triangles diered
across the three videos:
No perpetration: In this video, the green triangle approached the
orange triangle in the common area. The green triangle looksat the
orange triangle (i.e., one of the vertices of the triangle points toward the
other triangle), but no contact is depicted. The triangles faced one an-
other (i.e., vertices pointed toward the other) before returning to their
respective areas.
Single perpetration: In this video, the green triangle appeared to
pokethe orange triangle by making a quick move towards it (without
making direct contact). The orange triangle swirls backwards in re-
sponse. The two triangles then faced one another and returned to their
respective work areas.
Perpetration and Retaliation: In this video, the green triangle again
pokes the orange triangle (without direct contact), leading the orange
triangle to swirl backwards. Next, the orange triangle retaliates by
poking the green triangle twice (without direct contact). The green
triangle swirls backwards upon each poke, after which both triangles
returned to their respective work areas.
Presentation of the videos was randomized to control for order ef-
fects. Last, participants provided basic demographic data.
5.1.3. Dependent measures
In response to each video, participants were asked to rate the extent
to which they perceived both the green and orange triangles as the
victims of harm, using 7-point scales (1 = not at all the victim,7=de-
nitely the victim). Participants also rated the extent to which each of the
triangles was the perpetrator of harm (1 = not at all the perpetrator,
7=denitely the perpetrator). Last, they identied the sex of the trian-
gles by selecting from one of two options: orange female/green male or
orange male/green female.
5.2. Results
Three-level Hierarchical Linear Models (HLM 7.01; Raudenbush,
Bryk, & Congdon, 2013) were constructed to account for the nested
nature of the data. Due to the within-subjects design, participantsre-
sponses to the three videos were repeated. Participants were also nested
within their particular cultural sample (Chinese or Norwegian). Thus,
participantsrepeated responses to the videos were entered at Level 1
(along with dummy codes to represent the particular video), between-
person demographics were entered at Level 2, and the cultural sample
was dummy coded at level 3. Across models, all terms were xed and
not allowed to vary. Because the dependent variable (gender assign-
ment) was dichotomous, Bernoulli specication was used, which ap-
plies a logistic link function, such that results indicate the log odds of
the outcome, as opposed to the conventional raw outcome.
5.2.1. Eect of video on gender classication
First, the main eect of video scenario was explored by entering
video scenario dummy codes at Level 1 to predict gender typecasting of
the triangles. The retaliation video signicantly diered from the single
perpetration, b=0.29, SE = 0.14, t(8 0 0) = 2.05, p= .041, and the
no overt perpetration video, b=0.31, SE = 0.14, t(8 0 0) = 2.19,
p= .029, in gender classication. Participants were less likely to clas-
sify the orange triangle as female when the orange triangle retaliated,
compared to when the orange triangle was only a victim or when no
apparent harm took place. This pattern suggests that perpetration, even
in the form of retaliation, reduced the likelihood of classication as
female, supporting the hypothesis that victims are more likely to be
typecast as female than agentic perpetrators.
Gender classication of triangles did not signicantly dier between
the single perpetration video and no overt perpetration video (p=
.886). This null eect in gender classication was unexpected, but may
suggest that in response to the no overt harm video, participants in-
ferred the green triangles facing the orange signied a harsh glare or
delivery of a cruel statement. Because instructions specied that harm
was not physical, but rather psychological, it is possible participants
were sensitized to detecting relational or verbal forms of harm, such as
Fig. 1. Study 1 Indirect eect of victim/perpetrator labeling. Note:
**
p< .01, *p< .05; oender gender and the labeling × oender gender interaction are
included as controls in the bootstrapping regression.
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
125
dirty looksor confrontational statements. This interpretation is
speculative, but if correct, may suggest that in accordance with Study
1sndings, activating a mindset of harm amplies the gender bias in
moral typecasting, even when harm is ambiguous (e.g., a prolonged
look).
5.2.2. Perpetration predicts gender typecasting
To test whether perceptions of victimization/ perpetration would
predict gender typecasting, a series of 3-level analyses were conducted.
The rst model entered participantsstandardized uncentered percep-
tions of the green triangles perpetration into Level 1. Supporting our
hypothesis, perceptions of the green triangles perpetration signicantly
predicted typecasting the green triangle as male, b= 0.29, SE = 0.07 t
(8 0 1) = 4.48, p< .001, odds ratio = 1.34. When the video dummy
codes and their interaction terms (video by perceptions of green per-
petration) were also entered into Level 1 of the model, the interaction
terms were not signicant (all ps > 0.5), indicating the eect of the
green triangles perpetration on male gender assignment did not dier
signicantly across the three videos. To explore whether the main eect
of greens perpetration diered across the cultural samples, a study
sample dummy code was entered at Level 3. Study sample did not
signicantly moderate the eect of green perpetration (p= .487), in-
dicating that Chinese managers and Norwegian students did not dier
in their gender classication based on perceptions of the green trian-
gles degree of perpetration.
A similar model examined perceptions of the orange triangles
perpetration. Supporting predictions, a signicant main eect of per-
ceptions of the orange triangles perpetration emerged, such that the
more participants perceived the orange triangle as a perpetrator, the
more likely they were to classify the orange triangle as male, b= 0.29,
SE = 0.06, t(8 0 1) = 4.64, p< .001, odds ratio = 1.34. The strength
of this association did not dier by video scenario (ps > 0.4), nor study
sample (p= .118).
5.2.3. Victimization predicts gender typecasting
Next, perceptions of the green triangles victimization were ex-
amined. Supporting predictions, the more participants perceived the
green triangle as a victim, the greater their likelihood of typecasting the
green triangle as female, b= 0.40, SE = 0.06, t(8 0 1) = 6.28,
p< .001, odds ratio = 1.50. This main eect was not qualied by the
study sample (p= .679), indicating that the pattern was similar among
Chinese and Norwegian participants. The eect of green triangles
victimization signicantly diered across the particular videos, how-
ever, such that eects signicantly diered between the no perpetration
and single perpetration scenarios, b= 0.55, SE = 0.19, t(7 9 7) = 2.91,
p= .001. Perceptions of greens victimization was a stronger predictor
of classifying the green triangle as female in the single perpetration
video, b= 0.76, SE = 0.15, t(7 9 7) = 5.11, p< .001, odds
ratio = 2.13, than in the video depicting no overt perpetration,
b= 0.21, SE = 0.13, t(7 9 7) = 1.63, p=.104, odds ratio = 1.23. In
the single perpetration video, it was quite clear that the green triangle
was the aggressor, suggesting that if participants happened to perceive
the green triangle as a victim in this scenario, they were especially
likely to typecast the green triangle as female.
Turning to perceptions of the orange triangle, results revealed a
signicant main eect of victim perceptions, such that the more par-
ticipants perceived the orange triangle as a victim, the greater their
likelihood of typecasting the orange triangle as female, b= 0.27,
SE = 0.06, t(8 0 1) = 4.15, p< .001, odds ratio = 1.31. The strength
of this association did not dier across the videos (ps > 0.3), nor across
study samples (p= .535).
5.2.4. Participant gender and typecasting
Anal set of analyses examined the eect of participant gender on
typecasting. Because demographic data were not collected for the
Norwegian sample, this analysis was performed solely on the Chinese
managerial sample, and thus only required a two-level model. A par-
ticipant gender dummy code was entered into Level 2 to examine the
main eect of participant gender on typecasting. A signicant eect
emerged, b= 0.45, SE = 0.18, t(2 5 5) = 2.49, p= .013, odds
ratio = 1.57, indicating that female participants were more likely to
classify the green triangle as male and the orange triangle as female
than were male participants. Because the green triangle was the sole
perpetrator in one video and the initial aggressor in another, this
nding may suggest women were more likely than men to assume male
perpetration and female victimization.
5.3. Discussion
Study 2 supported the predicted biased application of moral type-
casting using stimuli devoid of human attributes. Even when judging
animated shapes, the more participants perceived a triangle as a victim
in a social interaction involving harm, the more likely they were to
classify that triangle as female. Likewise, the more participants per-
ceived a triangle as a perpetrator, they more likely they were to type-
cast that triangle as male. This pattern of typecasting was found across
all three videos, including the retaliation scenario, suggesting biased
typecasting can manifest even when victimization is ambiguous. Study
2s stimuli reduced the possibility the emergent pattern stemmed pri-
marily from gender stereotypes because participants attributed these
human characteristics to animated shapes. Moreover, there were no
signicant dierences between Chinese managers' and Norwegian stu-
dentsresponses, suggesting the biased application of moral typecasting
may be a universal feature of human moral cognition.
Exploration of participant gender showed that female participants
were more likely than male participants to classify the orange triangle
as female and the green as male. Because the green triangle was the sole
perpetrator in one video and the initial aggressor in the other, this
nding suggests that women may be more likely than men to reexively
assign males to the role of perpetrator and females to the role of victim.
However, because the signicant eect of participant gender was not
unique to the single perpetration video (where victimization and per-
petration were clear) but rather occurred across all three videos, we are
cautious about interpreting this as a reliable pattern. Study 2s design
was limited in that the interaction was described as between opposite-
sex colleagues and thus, did not allow us to explore whether biased
moral typecasting emerges when evaluating male-on-male or female-
on-female harm.
6. Study 3
Study 2sndings suggested that biased application of moral type-
casting persists even when victimization is ambiguous (e.g., in the re-
taliation video). Study 3 sought to further test this possibility with a
scenario depicting workplace conict between two opposite-sex col-
leagues. In this scenario, both employees experienced negative out-
comes, and thus, assigning actors to the victim role was not straight-
forward.
A second goal of Study 3 was to examine a possible boundary
condition of the biased application of moral typecasting by increasing
the patiency of one of the targets, which should also decrease their
perceived agency. We did so by manipulating whether an overly
friendly co-worker was described as having a neurological condition
that impaired his/her ability to interpret social cues. Prior work has
demonstrated that persons with mental handicaps are attributed lower
agency and heightened patiency (Gray & Wegner, 2009). If gender is
used as only one proxy of individualsrelative agency or patiency, then
perhaps cues suggestive of diminished agency and augmented patiency
(such as neurological impairment) might overpower the biasing eects
of target gender on moral typecasting. Accordingly, we predicted that
the female target would be perceived as more of a victim than the male
in the control condition, but not in the neurological impairment
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
126
condition. Thus, Study 3 used a 2 (target gender) by 2 (neurological
impairment) design to examine moral typecasting when victimization is
ambiguous.
6.1. Method
6.1.1. Participants
Two hundred and nineteen Chinese managers (M
age
= 31.8 years,
range: 2056) enrolled in a part-time MBA program in Northern China
were recruited to complete an online survey. Of these managers, 87
(39.7%) were male and two did not report gender.
6.1.2. Procedure.
Participants read a short scenario depicting the workplace interac-
tions of two opposite sex co-workers. Within the scenario, the rst co-
worker was described as very friendly, often giving hugs and compli-
ments to others. The scenario detailed how the friendly coworker often
stopped by their co-workers cubicle to chat, often sent emails unrelated
to work, frequently stared at the co-worker, and once gave an un-
welcomed hug when their co-worker came into work soaking wet on a
rainy day. The co-worker who was the recipient of this attention be-
came distressed and eventually emailed the companys HR doc-
umenting all the ways the friendly employee made coming into work
uncomfortable for him/her. A few days later, the overly friendly em-
ployee was let go.
Across conditions, the sex of the two colleagues were manipulated,
such that either a female employee behaved overly friendly towards a
male co-worker, leading to her being red or a male employee behaved
in an overly friendly manner towards a female co-worker, leading to his
being red. We also manipulated the neurological status of the friendly
employee, such that (s)he was described as having a neurological im-
pairment that harmed his/her ability to read social cues, or in the
control condition, there was no mention of a neurological impairment.
6.1.3. Dependent measures
In response to the vignette, participants indicated on two 7-point
scales the degree to which they perceived the red person as a victim
and the accuser as a victim (1 = not at all a victim,7=denitely a
victim).
6.2. Results
6.2.1. Complainants victimization
Participants reported their perception of both targetsvictimization
and their responses to these two items are therefore interrelated. That
is, because individuals typically typecast one target as a victim and one
as a perpetrator within harm contexts (Gray & Wegner, 2009), victi-
mization ratings for one target may have been confounded by ratings of
the other target. To account for this within-subject variance on these
two measures, we conducted ANCOVAs that accounted for the rating of
the other targets victimization as a covariate. The rst ANCOVA ex-
amined perceptions of the complainants victimization by gender con-
dition, neurological condition, and participant gender, while control-
ling for perceptions of the red employees victimization. The predicted
2-way gender by neurological condition was signicant, F
(1,208) = 7.35, p= .007. In the control condition, the female com-
plainant was perceived as more of a victim (M= 4.12, SE = 0.20) than
the male complainant (M= 3.03, SE = 0.19), p< .001. In the neuro-
logical impairment condition, there was no dierence in perceptions of
the complainants victimization based on gender (M
male
= 3.80,
SE = 0.22; M
female
= 3.77, SE = 0.21), p= .923. This two-way inter-
action was not moderated by participant gender, F(1,208) = 0.61,
p= .435, suggesting male and female participants both showed a
gender bias in their assessments of the complainants victimization, but
only in the no-impairment condition. This nding supported predic-
tions, demonstrating that a female employee making a complaint about
being distressed by another co-workers behavior was perceived as
more of a victim than a male employee making the same complaint, but
this gender bias was not found when the accused suered from a
neurological impairment.
6.2.2. Fired Employees victimization
A second ANCOVA examined perceptions of the red employees
victimization, treating perceptions of the complainants victimization as
a covariate. A signicant 2-way participant gender by gender condition
emerged, F(1,208) = 4.71, p= .031, such that male participants
viewed the red employee as marginally more of a victim as a female
(M= 4.61, SE = 0.23) than as a male (M= 4.01, SE = 0.23) p= .071,
whereas female participants did not signicantly dier in their ratings
of victimization as a function of the red employees gender
(M
female
= 3.54, SE = 0.18; M
male
= 3.85, SE = 0.18), p= .227. This
pattern suggests that male, but not female participants showed a gender
bias in their typecasting of the red employee, perceiving the female
employee who was red for her overly friendly behavior as more of a
victim than a male employee who engaged in identically friendly be-
havior. A marginally signicant participant gender by neurological
condition also emerged F(1,208) = 3.18, p= .076, such that male
participants perceived the red employee as more of a victim when that
employee had a neurological impairment (M= 4.53, SE = 0.24), than
did female participants (M= 3.56, SE = 0.19), p= .001. In the control
condition, male (M= 4.09, SE = 0.21) and female participants
(M= 3.84, SE = 0.18) did not signicantly dier in their assessments
of the red persons victimization,p= .373.This pattern suggests the
neurological impairment increased perceptions of the red employees
patiency (and thus victimization), but only among male participants.
6.2.3. Comparison of employeesvictimization
Given that victimization in the scenario was ambiguous, and moral
typecasting assumes that only one target is typically recognized as a
victim, we conducted a repeated-measure mixed ANOVA to compare
victimization perceptions across the two targets. Victimization ratings
for the red and complaining employee were treated as a within-subject
(or repeated) factor while gender condition, neurological condition,
and participant gender were treated as between-subject factors. This
analysis revealed a signicant interaction between target gender and
the comparison between the red employees and complainants victi-
mization, F(1,209) = 5.61, p= .019. When the red employee was
female, she was perceived as more of a victim (M= 4.09, SE = 0.15)
than the male complainant (M= 3.41, SE =0.15), p= .002. However,
when the red employee was male, he was not perceived as more of a
victim (M= 3.92, SE = 0.14) than the female accuser (M= 3.95,
SE = 0.15), p= .897. Thus, a female employee who was terminated for
ambiguously friendly behavior was perceived as more of a victim than
her accuser, but no such dierence was found in the reverse scenario,
when a male employee was red for equally ambiguous behavior.
However, this interaction was qualied by a signicant interaction
between target gender and participant gender on the comparison be-
tween the red employees and complainants victimization, F
(1,209) = 13.95, p< .001. Male participants perceived the red fe-
male employee as signicantly more of a victim (M= 4.63, SE = 0.23)
than the male complainant (M= 3.14, SE = 0.23), p< .001. When a
male employee was red for the same ambiguous behavior, male par-
ticipants did not perceive him as more of a victim (M= 3.99,
SE = 0.22) than the female complainant (M= 4.30, SE = 0.23),
p= .334. Female participants viewed both the complainant and red
employee similarly, regardless of the gender manipulation (ps > 0.32).
The predicted interaction between neurological condition, gender
condition, and the employeesvictimization ratings was marginally
signicant, F(1,209) = 2.96, p= .087. Probing this interaction re-
vealed that in the neurologically healthy condition, the female com-
plainant was perceived as more of a victim (M= 4.12, SE = 0.20) than
the male complainant (M= 3.03, SE = 0.19), p< .001. However, in
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
127
the neurological impairment condition, the female complainant was no
longer perceived as more of a victim (M= 3.78, SE = 0.21) than the
male complainant (M= 3.80, SE = 0.22), p= .948.
6.3. Discussion
Study 3's ndings suggest that individuals show a biased application
of moral typecasting even under conditions of ambiguity where it is not
obvious who is the victim. A woman was perceived as more of a victim
than a man making the same complaints of distressing, unwanted at-
tention from a coworker. This result supports our argument that it is
more cognitively challenging to typecast a man than a woman into the
victim role. This tendency can lead decision makers to stray from im-
partiality when resolving workplace disputes because complaints from
male employees may be taken less seriously. Unlike our previous stu-
dies, the biased application of moral typecasting was most pronounced
among male participants, who perceived the red employee as more of
a victim when female than male. Indeed, male participants also per-
ceived the red female employee as more of a victim than the male
employee making complaints about her.
Of note, the ndings of Study 3 suggest a boundary condition to the
biased application of moral typecasting. When the red employee suf-
fered from a neurological impairment, the gender bias in moral type-
casting disappeared, and both male and female employees making
complaints of harassing behaviors were assigned equal victim status.
We infer from this that gender is only one factor that biases the ap-
plication of moral typecasting due to its association with agency and
patiency. However, in the presence of additional and perhaps more
diagnostic cues of relative patiency or agency, such as a neurological
impairment, evaluators may weigh these cues more heavily than tar-
getsgender. One limitation of both Studies 2 and 3 was that both relied
upon scenarios depicting cross-sex interactions. We addressed this
limitation in Study 4.
7. Study 4
Study 4 manipulated both the genders of a potentially harmed
target and a perpetrator to examinedthe downstream consequences of
the biased application of moral typecasting. If women more strongly
match the cognitive prototype of victim than men, female targets
should be expected to experience more pain than male targets, con-
sistent with the patient role in moral typecasting (Gray & Wegner,
2009). Study 4 directly tested this prediction by measuring assumptions
about a victims pain. Study 4 also explored reactions to male versus
female perpetrators. The cognitive link between female and victimiza-
tion demonstrated in our previous studies implies that even when
women are cast as perpetrators, they should be assumed to experience
more pain (e.g., upon being accused of harassment) compared to when
men are cast in this role. In other words, even in the perpetrator role,
female targets will still be attributed qualities of victims, making it
more challenging for evaluators to detect and respond punitively to
female (versus male) perpetration. Specically, we predicted that fe-
male perpetrators would elicit less punitive responses than male per-
petrators. Last, we predicted that perpetrators who harmed female
victims should evoke more punitive responses and lower inclinations
for forgiveness than those who harmed male victims.
7.1. Method
7.1.1. Participants
Two hundred and fty American residents were recruited to parti-
cipate in an online study through Amazons MTurk (M
age
= 34.49, 34%
female). Participants were rst provided with denitions of workplace,
sexual, and quid pro quo harassment, and asked whether they had ever
been formally or informally accused of one of these. Those who re-
sponded yeswere directed to a survey about their experience being
accused (ndings reported in a separate article); those who responded
nowere directed to the study reported here. Our nal sample con-
sisted of 214 individuals who indicated no(M
age
= 34.93, 38% fe-
male).
7.1.2. Procedure
Participants were randomly assigned to view one of four versions of
a dyadic workplace interaction that manipulated both commenter and
target gender. Participants were presented with the following scenario:
A and B are from the same company and they have worked together for
more than two years. Both are managers. Occasionally, after work they go
out for drinks with several colleagues. One day, A and B attend a profes-
sional conference. At the conference, during the lunch break, A and B are in
the cafeteria line together. B drops a fork and bends over to get it. As (s)he
straightens up, A says to her/him, You must get a lot of practice doing
that.’” The genders of A and B were experimentally manipulated using
names (e.g., Jason, Diane) and pictures.
We used this particular joke for two reasons. First, there is no way of
objectively determining whether the joke is oensive. Second, if per-
ceived as oensive, the joke is potentially hurtful to both men and
women because it implies bodily penetration. Additionally, when the
comment is directed towards a man, it can be interpreted as emascu-
lating because it implies anal penetration, presumably by another man.
Thus, it would be reasonable to expect that if the comment were per-
ceived as oensive, it would be so for both men and women.
7.1.3. Dependent measures
After reading the scenario, participants completed the following
measures:
7.1.3.1. Recipient pain. To measure perceptions of the recipients (B)
pain in response to the comment, participants responded to the
question How much pain do you think B felt as a result of how A acted
towards him/her?using a slider (0 = no pain and 100 = extreme pain).
7.1.3.2. Commenter pain. To measure perceptions of the commenters
(A) pain, participants responded to the question Assuming B did accuse
A of harassment, how much pain do you think A would feel as a result of Bs
accusation?using a slider (0 = no pain and 100 = extreme pain).
7.1.3.3. Punishment. Participants indicated their desire to punish the
commenter (A) on ve items using a 5-point scale (1 = denitely not,
2=probably not,3=neutral/unsure,4=probably,5=denitely).
Assuming B went to As supervisor and accused him/her of creating a
hostile work environment for (wo)men because of his/her behavior in his/
her presence, indicate how much you believe As supervisor should take each
of the following steps:1)A should be punished in some way for his/her
behavior;2)As supervisor should pursue a thorough investigation of As
behavior at work to see if (s)he has done this to other (wo)men;3)As
supervisor should suspend him/her without pay while conducting an
investigation about Bs complaint;4)As supervisor should require A to
seek counseling for his/her behavior;5)As supervisor should re A for his/
her behavior.Responses were combined to form a punishment
composite (α= 0.89).
7.1.3.4. Forgiveness. We measured participantslikelihood of forgiving
the commenter (A) with four statements and the same 5-point response
scale: 1) I would let go of any of the negative feelings I have towards A;2)I
would forgive A for any hurt and pain (s)he may have caused;3)I would let
go of any resentment that I felt towards A;4)I would never forgive A for
what (s)he said to B (reverse coded). Responses were combined to form a
forgiveness composite (α= 0.91).
7.1.3.5. Workplace advancement. Two items examined participants
desired workplace advancement for the commenter: 1) Would you
want to work with [Commenter]? and 2) Would you recommend
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
128
[Commenter] for a management position? using the same 5-point scale
(α= 0.89).
7.2. Results
A series of 2 (recipient gender) × 2 (commenter gender) ANOVAs
examined participantsresponses to the commenter and recipient of a
workplace joke. A secondary set of ANOVAs examined moderation by
participant gender. Although main eects of participant gender
emerged, such that female (versus male) participants perceived greater
victim pain, desired harsher punishments, and were less willing to
forgive or integrate oenders, there were no signicant interactions
between participant gender, commenter gender, or recipient gender.
Thus, we report only the 2 (recipient gender) × 2 (commenter gender)
ANOVAs below.
7.2.1. Victims pain
Participants perceived female recipients to experience more pain
than male recipients (M
female
= 31.09, SE
female
= 2.35, M
male
= 22.14,
SE
male
= 2.35; F(1, 210) = 7.28, p= .008, d= 0.37). Although the
main eect of commenter gender was not statistically signicant, F(1,
210) = 2.73, p= .10, it was trending in the predicted direction, such
that recipients were expected to experience more pain as a response to
male (versus female) commenters. There was no signicant recipient by
commenter gender interaction, F(1, 210) = 0.17, p= .69.
7.2.2. Perpetrators pain
Participants perceived female commenters to experience more pain
than male commenters (M
female
= 58.98, SE
female
= 2.71,
M
male
= 49.09, SE
male
= 2.73, F(1, 210) = 6.60, p= .011, d= 0.35)
upon accusation of harassment. There was no eect of victim gender, F
(1, 210) = 0.01, p= .94, and no victim by perpetrator gender inter-
action, F(1, 210) = 0.00, p= 1.0.
7.2.3. Punishment
Participants desired harsher punishments for perpetrators who tar-
geted females (M
femaleV
= 2.74, SE
femaleV
= 0.09) than those who tar-
geted males, (M
maleV
= 2.49, SE
maleV
= 0.09, F(1, 210) = 3.73,
p= .055, d= 0.27). A main eect of perpetrator gender revealed that
participants were more willing to punish male vs. female perpetrators
(M
maleP
= 2.77, SE
maleP
= .09, M
femaleP
= 2.47, SE
femaleP
= .09, F(1,
210) = 5.35, p= .022, d= 0.32). There was no victim by perpetrator
gender interaction, F(1, 210) = 0.02, p= .89.
7.2.4. Forgiveness
Participants were more willing to forgive a female than male per-
petrator (M
femaleP
= 3.80, SE
femaleP
= .09, M
maleP
= 3.48,
SE
maleP
= .09, F(1, 210) = 7.05, p= .009, d= 0.34. There was no main
eect of victim gender, F(1, 210) = 1.32, p= .25, and no victim by
perpetrator gender interaction, F(1, 210) = 0.85, p= .36.
7.2.5. Workplace advancement
A signicant eect of perpetrator gender emerged, F(1,
210) = 10.84, p= .001, such that participants were more willing to
work with and advocate for the promotion to management of a female
than male perpetrator (M
maleP
= 2.39, SE
maleP
= .14, M
femaleP
= 2.83,
SE
femaleP
= .13). There was no main eect of victim gender, F(1,
210) = 1.31, p= .25, nor a victim by commenter gender interaction, F
(1, 210) = 0.09, p= .76.
7.2.6. Mediation analysis
To test the hypothesis that people more strongly desire to punish
perpetrators who target female (vs. male) victims because they perceive
female victimspain to be greater than that of male victims, we tested a
mediation model using Model 4 in the Hayes Macro for SPSS (Hayes,
2017) with victim gender as the IV, perceived victim pain as the
mediator, and punishment as the DV. We controlled for participant
gender in the model.
The victim gender-victim pain pathway was signicant, indicating
that participants believed a female victim experienced signicantly
more pain from the joke than a male victim, t(2 1 0) = 2.96p= .004,
CI
95
= [3.26, 16.31]. The pathway from victim pain to perpetrator
punishment was also signicant such that higher perceived victim pain
predicted harsher perpetrator punishment, t(2 1 0) = 10.92, p< .001,
CI
95
= [0.019, 0.027]. Last, the direct eect of victim gender on per-
petrator punishment was no longer signicant, t(2 1 0) = .53p= .60,
CI
95
=[0.151, 0.261], but the indirect eect was, B= 0.227,
CI
95
= [0.067, 0.395], suggesting people perceived female victims to
experience greater pain, leading to stronger punitive responses toward
their perpetrators. Participant gender was a signicant covariate such
that female participants assumed greater victim pain, t
(2 1 0) = 2.34p= .02, CI
95
= [1.27, 14.72], but participant gender was
not associated with punishment desires, t(2 1 0) = 1.53p= .127,
CI
95
=[0.047, 0.374].
7.3. Discussion
Study 4 revealed some of the practical consequences of the biased
application of moral typecasting. Participants perceived females to ex-
perience more pain than males in response to the same potentially of-
fensive joke. The dyadic template framework contends that typecasting
a target as a victim makes it unlikely that they will be typecast as an
agent. Our nding that female (versus male) perpetrators were also
expected to experience greater pain (a component of moral patiency) is
consistent with this principle.
Participants were less willing to punish and more willing to forgive
female than male perpetrators, despite their committing the same of-
fense. They were more willing to work with and nominate a woman for
a position of management than a man, despite both making the same
potentially oensive joke. Participants also desired harsher punish-
ments, including investigations and terminations, for those who tar-
geted female (versus male) victims. Thus, it appears that those alleged
to harm females are perceived as especially pernicious and punished
more severely for their actions. Mediation analysis revealed these
greater punitive desires stemmed in part from an assumption that fe-
male victims experienced more pain than male victims, suggesting a
mechanism by which this asymmetry occurs. In sum, Study 4 revealed
third parties experience stronger moral responses when actorsgenders
more closely t the cognitive prototype of intentional perpetrator and
suering victim.
8. Study 5
Thus far, our studies have focused exclusively on dyadic interactions
involving one party experiencing harm. It remains unclear whether
biases in moral typecasting will persist when more than one target is
harmed. Study 5 expanded the scope of our investigation by examining
whether observers exhibit a gender bias in moral typecasting when
evaluating situations depicting harm to either women or men as a group.
To provide a conservative test of the biased application of moral
typecasting, Study 5 sought to rule out the inuence of gender stereo-
types as the primary driver of our eects by asking participants to re-
spond to a situation where stereotypes could facilitate mens categor-
ization into the victim role: job loss. Throughout history, men have
been perceived as the primary household breadwinners, suggesting that
losing a job may more strongly impair mens sense of self-worth than
womens, thereby resulting in mens experiencing more pain. Empirical
data provide support for this expectation as job instability more
strongly predicts depression and gender threat among men than among
women (Michniewicz, Vandello, & Bosson, 2014; Wang, Lesage,
Schmitz, & Drapeau, 2008).
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
129
8.1. Method
8.1.1. Participants
A market research rm recruited 423 Canadian participants for an
online study about a managerial decision. Twenty individuals failed to
identify correctly the gender of the red employees from the scenario
and were thus eliminated from analyses. Our nal sample was 403
individuals (51.4% female; M
age
= 45.3 years). The majority (73.5%)
were currently employed in organizational leadership roles, with an
average of 22.9 years of work experience.
8.1.2. Procedure
Participants evaluated a scenario in which the senior management
team at a manufacturing company decided to protect prots by laying
o9 employees. Across conditions, we experimentally manipulated the
gender of the laid-oemployees, such that they were either all men or
all women. Within both conditions, employee tenure, education, and
outcomes (e.g., severance; re-employment), as well as the management
teams motivations were held constant. The full scenario is available in
the appendix. After reading the scenario, participants completed the
following dependent measures:
8.1.2.1. Victimhood.The (wo)men who were laid oare NOT victims
(1 = Strongly Disagree; 7=Strongly Agree).
8.1.2.2. Victim pain.How much pain, whether it is psychological,
emotional, or physical, do you think the (wo)men who were laid o
experienced as a group? (0 = No Pain; 100 = Extreme Pain).
8.1.2.3. Harm inictedHow much harm do you think the management team
inicted on the group of (wo)men they laid o? (0 = No Harm;
100 = Extreme Harm).
8.1.2.4. Fairness.I believe the (wo)men have been treated fairly
(1 = Strongly Disagree; 7=Strongly Agree).
8.1.2.5. Managersmorality.How moral do you think the senior
management team at Jarvis Manufacturing is? (1=Extremely Immoral;
7=Extremely Moral).
8.1.2.6. Management teams gender composition.Do you think the
management team who decided to make the layos is: (All men, All
women, A mix of men and women). Order of response options were
randomized.
8.2. Results
8.2.1. Victimhood
An independent-samples t-test revealed that perceptions of victim-
hood did not signicantly dier across gender conditions
(M
women
= 3.79, SD
women
= 1.91, M
men
= 3.88, SD = 1.92, t
(4 0 1) = 0.46, p= .65), contrary to predictions. Because the victim-
hood measure was worded as a negation (not victims), these means
are still in the predicted direction.
8.2.2. Victim pain
Perceptions of the employeespain (measured using a 0100 slider)
displayed signicant negative skew (Skew = 1.2, Shapiro-Wilk test of
normality = 0.91, p< .001). We therefore analyzed this variable using
non-parametric tests of median and mean condition dierences.
Supporting predictions, median perceived pain was signicantly higher
in the red female employee condition than in the male condition
(Median
female
= 80.0, Median
male
= 74.0, p= .015), and mean per-
ceived pain followed the same pattern (Mean Rank
women
= 212.43,
Mean Rank
men
= 190.77, Mann-Whitney U = 18094.00, p= .062).
8.2.3. Harm inicted
Perceptions of the harm inicted by the management team also
displayed signicant negative skew (Skew = 0.67, Shapiro-Wilk test
of normality = 0.95, p< .001), so we again employed nonparametric
tests. Supporting predictions, participants assumed the managers in-
icted more harm on the red female than red male employees
(Median
female
= 71.0, Median
male
= 69.5, p= .051), and mean per-
ceived harm followed the same pattern (Mean Rank
women
= 209.31,
Mean Rank
men
= 194.13, Mann-Whitney U = 18745.50, p= .192).
8.2.4. Fairness
An independent-samples t-test revealed participants perceived the
laid ofemale employees were treated marginally less fairly than the
male employees (M
women
= 3.60, SD
women
= 1.75, M
men
= 3.91,
SD = 1.71, t(4 0 1) = 1.76, p= .079). In other words, participants
thought that it was less fair for the managers to re women to maximize
prots than to re men.
8.2.5. Managersmorality
An independent-samples t-test revealed that participants perceived
the management team as signicantly less moral when they red
women than when they red men [M
women
= 3.71, SD
women
= 1.42,
M
men
= 4.07, SD = 1.43, t(4 0 1) = 2.49, p= .013]. Of all of our de-
pendent measures, this was the only variable to signicantly dier
across conditions by participant gender, F(1, 399) = 12.37, p= .013. A
2(red employee gender) by 2 (participant gender) ANOVA revealed
female participants perceived the managerial team to be less moral
when they laid owomen (M= 3.41, SE = 0.14) than when they laid
of men (M= 4.10, SE = 0.14). However, male participants did not
perceive the managerial team dierently depending on whether they
red women (M= 4.04, SE = 0.14) or men (M= 4.03, SE = 0.15).
8.2.6. Management team gender composition
Supporting the well-documented masculine construal of leadership
(Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, & Ristikari, 2011), very few participants as-
sumed the management team was all women. The number of partici-
pants who did assume an all-female management team was virtually
identical between conditions (N= 7 in the red female condition;
N= 8 in the red male condition), so we conned our analyses to only
those who assumed the management team was either all men or mixed
gender. A Chi-Square test revealed participants were slightly, but not
signicantly, more likely to assume the management team was all men
when female employees were red (49.5%) compared to when male
employees were red (41.9%, X
(1)
= 2.24, p= .135).
8.2.7. Perceived morality by management gender assumption
To test the hypothesis that an all-male management team would be
perceived as less moral than a mixed gender management team, a 2
(condition: female vs. male layos) by 2 (perceived management
gender: all men vs. mixed gender) between-subjects ANOVA compared
perceptions of the management teams morality. The signicant main
eects of the red employeesgender, F(1, 384) = 5.53, p= .019, and
assumed management gender, F(1, 384) = 26.62, p< .001, were
qualied by a signicant two-way interaction, F(1, 384) = 6.36,
p= .012 (see Fig. 2). Contrast analyses revealed participants who as-
sumed an all-male management team perceived the team as sig-
nicantly less moral when they laid owomen (M= 3.24, SE = 0.14)
than when they laid omen, [M= 3.88, SE = 0.15; t(1 7 6) = 3.19,
p= .002]. Participants who assumed a mixed-gender management
team, however, did not evaluate the team dierently depending on
whether they red women (M= 4.25, SE = 0.13) or men [M= 4.24,
SE = 0.13; t(2 0 8) = 0.13, p= .90; see Fig. 2].
8.3. Discussion
Study 5 showed that the gender bias in moral typecasting found in
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
130
our rst four studies is not restricted to dyadic interactions involving
single individuals, but aggregates to harm suered by groups of in-
dividuals. Despite the gender stereotype of the male breadwinner and
empirical research documenting the harmful consequences of job in-
stability on mens mental health and self-image (Michniewicz et al.,
2014; Wang et al., 2008), perceivers nevertheless attributed greater
suering to laid owomen than to laid omen. Moreover, the per-
ception of greater female harm also inuenced evaluations of ostensible
perpetrators: the management team. Organizational leaders cannot
avoid making tradeos that often result in negative externalities, such
as lost jobs. The ndings of Study 5 suggest observers may judge
managers as more immoral and unfair when such decisions cause harm
to female than to male employees. However, female participants were
especially likely to view the managerial team as immoral when they
laid owomen, suggesting again that women may show stronger
asymmetries in moral typecasting than men.
Study 5s results suggest the gender makeup of management teams
also shapes evaluations of these decisions. Supporting our predictions,
participants judged an all-male team, but not a mixed-gender team, as
less moral when they red female compared to male employees. This
pattern suggests that all-male management teams more easily conform
to the perpetrator prototype than teams including women, and their
decisions are viewed as especially pernicious and immoral if harm be-
falls women. This pattern should be interpreted with caution because it
was correlational and not manipulated (i.e., participants assumed the
managerial teams gender composition), but it nonetheless has im-
portant implications for organizations. For example, perhaps the pre-
sence of female leaders making decisions that harm women can insulate
managerial teams from hostile criticism or judgments of immorality.
Study 5 was limited by its reliance upon a scenario depicting layos
from an occupation that may be considered male-dominated (i.e., ski
apparel manufacturing). Thus, it is possible that perceptions of gender
discrimination may have contributed to the relatively stronger re-
sponses to the ring of a group of women (versus men). We sought to
rule out this explanation in Study 6.
9. Study 6
Study 6 employed a similar design to Study 5 whereby participants
evaluated a scenario in which a managerial team red either all female
or all male employees. Unlike Study 5, however, Study 6 manipulated
the plausibility of inferring gender discrimination by altering the oc-
cupation from which the employees were red, such that they were
red either from a predominately female career (nursing) or pre-
dominately male career (chemical manufacturing; Bureau of Labor
Statistics, 2018). We reasoned that the ring of a group of employees in
an occupation where they are underrepresented can be used by ob-
servers as rationale for inferring discrimination because it adversely
impacts presumably disadvantaged individuals from entering that eld.
If there is no typecasting bias and inferences of discrimination as a
result of adverse impact can fully explain the results of Study 5, then
moral responses should be amplied when either women or men are
red from occupations dominated by the other gender. That is, the
plausibility of gender discrimination should amplify the likelihood that
both red men and women are labeled as victims and presumed to
suer. If there is a gender bias in moral typecasting, however, then
responses should be heightened when women, but not men, are red,
irrespective of plausible discrimination. A third possibility is that
gender discrimination amplies the eects of moral typecasting by
strengthening the cognitive link between women and victimhood, but
not men and victimhood. The studies so far have not been able to ex-
amine this crucial distinction. Study 6 permitted us to do so.
Study 6 also extended Study 5 by examining the possibility that
perceptions of harm intentionality dier depending on the harmed
groups gender. One aspect of moral typecasting yet to be fully ex-
amined in the current investigation is agentic dyadic completion
(Gray & Wegner, 2010), or the tendency to perceive an intentional
agent as a causal force when suering is detected. That is, when pre-
sented with one component of the moral dyad, such as a suering pa-
tient, individuals instinctively complete the dyad by attributing the
suering to an intentional agent (e.g., a menacing god). Dyadic
Fig. 2. Perceptions of Managerial Teams Morality By Gender of Fired Employees and Assumed Managerial Gender (Study 5).
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
131
completion was tested in Study 6 by examining whether harm was as-
sumed as more intentional when women (versus men) were in the
victim role. Previous research has also demonstrated that suering is
experienced as more painful when it is intended (Gray & Wegner,
2008). Therefore, Study 6 also tested the possibility that presumed in-
tentionality might explain the attribution of greater pain to female
compared to male victims of harm. Study 6s hypotheses, methods,
sample size, and analyses were pre-registered (http://aspredicted.org/
blind.php?x=b6sn2t).
9.1. Method
9.1.1. Participants
A sample of American residents was recruited from Amazons
Mechanical Turk to complete an online survey. After removing com-
prehension check (N= 174) and attention check failures (N= 149),
our nal sample comprised 1599 individuals (56% female;
M
age
= 36.3 years). Participants had an average of 17.3 years of work
experience and the majority (70.7%) had experience in a managerial
role.
9.1.2. Procedure
Participants were randomly assigned to evaluate one of four pos-
sible versions of a scenario in which a senior management team decided
to protect prots by laying onine employees. Across conditions, we
experimentally manipulated the gender of the laid-oemployees, such
that they were either all men or all women, as well as the occupational
eld, such that employees were nurses or chemical manufacturers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018), nursing is comprised
of 84% female employees and chemical manufacturing is comprised of
74.5% male employees. Thus, gender discrimination due to adverse
impact is more plausible when male employees are red from nursing
(a female-dominated eld) and female employees are red from che-
mical engineering (a male-dominated eld). Beyond the employees
gender and occupation, the scenarios were otherwise identical. The full
scenario is available in the appendix. Participants completed the fol-
lowing dependent measures:
9.1.2.1. Victimhood.The (fe)male employees who were laid oshould be
considered victims (1 = Strongly Disagree; 7=Strongly Agree).
9.1.2.2. Victim pain.How much pain, whether it is psychological,
emotional, or physical, do you think the group of (wo)men felt when they
were laid o?(1 = No Pain;7=Extreme Pain).
9.1.2.3. Intentionality of harm.Jarvissenior management team intended
to harm the (fe)male employees they laid o(1 = Strongly Disagree;
7=Strongly Agree).
9.1.2.4. Harm inictedHow much harm do you think the management team
inicted on the group of (wo)men they laid o? (1 = No Harm;
7 = Extreme Harm).
9.1.2.5. Fairness.I believe the laid o(fe)male employees have been
treated fairly (1 = Strongly Disagree; 7=Strongly Agree).
9.1.2.6. Managersmorality.How moral do you think the senior
management team at Jarvis is? (1 = Extremely Immoral;7=Extremely
Moral).
9.2. Results
A series of 2 (employee gender) by 2 (adverse impact) between-
subject ANOVAs examined responses to the scenario. To examine
whether responses diered by participant gender, follow-up analyses
included participant gender as a third between-subject variable.
9.2.1. Victimhood
Contrary to predictions, employee gender did not signicantly
shape victimhood perceptions, F(1, 1595) = 1.43, p= .231. However,
the gender by adverse impact interaction was marginally signicant, F
(1, 1595) = 3.75, p= .053. In the adverse impact condition where fe-
male employees were red from a male dominated eld and systematic
discrimination might be inferred, judgments of the female employees
victimhood were greater (M= 4.19, SE = 0.09), compared to when
there was no adverse impact (i.e., they were red from a female-
dominated eld; M= 3.94, SE = 0.09), p= .049. When men were
red, however, judgments of victimhood did not dier regardless of
whether systematic discrimination could be inferred (i.e., adverse im-
pact because they were red from a female-dominated eld; M= 4.13,
SE = 0.09) compared to when the inference was less plausible (i.e., no
adverse impact; M= 4.22, SE = 0.09), p= .449.
A secondary model revealed the main eect of employeesgender
was moderated by participant gender, F(1, 1591) = 10.34, p= .001.
Male participants showed an in-group bias, such that they perceived the
male employees as greater victims (M= 4.22, SE = 0.10) than the fe-
male employees (M= 3.78, SE = 0.10), p= .002. Female participants
perceived the red female employees as greater victims (M= 4.29,
SE = 0.09) than the male employees (M= 4.14, SE =0.08), but this
dierence was not statistically signicant, p= .221.
9.2.2. Victim pain
Although female employees were assumed to experience greater
pain (M= 6.03, SE = 0.03) than male employees (M= 5.96,
SE = 0.03), this dierence was not statistically signicant, F(1,
1595) = 2.16, p= .142. A signicant 2-way employee gender by ad-
verse impact condition interaction emerged, F(1, 1595) = 13.36,
p< .001. When women were red, they were assumed to suer more
pain when gender discrimination could be inferred (M= 6.11,
SE = 0.05) compared to when gender discrimination was unlikely
(M= 5.94, SE = 0.05), p= .007. When men were red, however, they
were assumed to suer less pain when gender discrimination was
probable (M= 5.88, SE = 0.05) compared to unlikely (M= 6.04,
SE = 0.05) p= .013. Although female participants assumed the red
employees suered greater pain across conditions (M= 6.06,
SE = 0.03) than did male participants (M= 5.91, SE = 0.03), F(1,
1595) = 11.52, p= .001, no other participant gender eects emerged.
9.2.3. Intentionality of harm
A signicant main eect of gender condition emerged F(1,
1595) = 7.04, p= .008, such that harm to women was assumed as
more intentional (M=2.52, SE = 0.05) than equivalent harm to men
(M= 2.32, SE = 0.05). A signicant eect of adverse impact also
emerged, F(1, 1595) = 15.54, p< .001, such that harm was perceived
as more intentional when discrimination seemed more plausible (i.e.,
high adverse impact; M= 2.57, SE = 0.05), compared to when it was
less likely (i.e., low adverse impact;M= 2.27, SE = 0.05). However,
these two main eects were qualied by a signicant gender by adverse
impact interaction, F(1, 1595) = 7.19, p= .007. When women were
red, their harm was perceived as more intentional when it could be
due to gender discrimination (M= 2.77, SE = 0.08), compared to when
discrimination was less probable (M= 2.27, SE = 0.08), p< .001.
However, when men were red, plausible discrimination did not sig-
nicantly increase perceptions of intentional harm (M= 2.37,
SE = 0.07), compared to when discrimination was unlikely (M= 2.27,
SE = 0.07), p= .371.
The main eect of employees' gender also diered by participant
gender, F(1, 1591) = 7.50, p= .006, such that female participants
perceived more intentionality when women were red (M= 2.61,
SE = 0.07) than when men were (M= 2.23, SE = 0.07), p< .001.
Male participants, on the other hand, did not perceive greater harm
intentionality when the managerial team red men (M= 2.44,
SE =0.08) compared to when they red women (M= 2.41,
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
132
SE = 0.08), p= .764.
9.2.4. Perceived pain through harm intentionality
Although the direct eect of the employeesgender on pain was not
statistically signicant, previous research has demonstrated that in-
tentional harm is perceived as more painful than unintended harm
(Gray & Wegner, 2008). Because employeesgender signicantly
shaped perceptions of harm intentionality, we sought to examine the
possibility that the female employeespain would be perceived as
(slightly) heightened because their suering was assumed as the result
of the intentional motivations of managers. Although many researchers
assume that a signicant direct eect (the eect from the independent
variable to the dependent variable) is a necessary prerequisite of
mediation, some researchers have argued that if there are theoretical
reasons for expecting mediation, researchers should conduct the ana-
lysis even if there is not a signicant direct eect (Rucker, Preacher,
Tormala, & Petty, 2011).
We therefore constructed a mediational model using the Hayes
(2018) PROCESS macro for SPSS. Indeed, a signicant indirect emerged
from employeesgender to assumptions of their pain through percep-
tions of harm intentionality, b= 0.012, SE = 0.006,
CI
95
= 0.0030.025 (see Fig. 3), which reduced the size of the direct
eect of gender condition on pain perceptions to b= 0.054, SE = 0.04,
t= 1.21, p= .229. CI
95
=0.03 to 0.14. This indirect eect remained
signicant controlling for the adverse impact manipulation, b= 0.012,
SE = 0.006, CI
95
= 0.0030.025. This partial mediation is consistent
with the interpretation that victimized women are expected to experi-
ence greater pain because harm to them is perceived as more inten-
tional than mens harm.
9.2.5. Harm inicted
Although participants assumed the management team inicted
more harm on the red female (M= 5.50, SE = 0.05) than male em-
ployees (M= 5.43, SE = 0.05), this dierence was not statistically
signicant, F(1, 1595) = 1.16, p= .281. A signicant eect of the ad-
verse impact manipulation emerged, F(1, 1595) = 4.67, p= .031, such
that participants assumed managers inicted greater harm when dis-
crimination was more plausible (M= 5.53, SE = 0.05), compared to
less plausible (M= 5.40, SE = 0.05). These main eects were not
qualied by a signicant gender by discrimination condition interac-
tion, F(1, 1595) = 0.41, p= .524. Although female participants per-
ceived the managers to have inicted greater harm overall than did
male participants, F(1, 1591) = 15.54, p< .001, no other participant
gender eects emerged.
9.2.6. Fairness
Perceptions that the employees were treated fairly did not dier
signicantly by employee gender [F(1, 1595) = 0.09, p= .760], plau-
sible discrimination [F(1, 1595) = 2.27, p= .132], or the two-way in-
teraction [F(1, 1595) = 1.81, p= .179]. Although female participants
perceived the employees to be treated less fairly overall than did male
participants, F(1, 1591) = 14.62, p< .001, no other participant
gender eects emerged.
9.2.7. Managersmorality
Supporting predictions, managers were perceived as less moral
when they red female employees (M= 3.59, SE = 0.05) compared to
when they red male employees, M= 3.73, SE = 0.05; F(1,
1595) = 4.58, p= .033. A signicant main eect of adverse impact also
emerged, F(1, 1595) = 12.96, p< .001, such that the managerial team
was perceived as less moral when discrimination was more (M= 3.54,
SE = 0.05) compared to less plausible (M= 3.78, SE = 0.05). These
two main eects were not qualied by a signicant gender by adverse
impact interaction, F(1, 1595) = 0.09, p= .765. Female participants
perceived the managerial team as less moral overall than did male
participants, F(1, 1591) = 5.90, p= .015. No other participant gender
eects emerged.
9.2.8. Perceived morality through harm intentionality
To examine the possibility that managers were evaluated as less
moral when they red women because the harm was perceived as more
intentional, a mediational model was conducted using the PROCESS
macro for SPSS. Indeed, a signicant indirect emerged from employees
gender to perceptions of managersmorality through perceptions of
harm intentionality, b=0.064, SE = 0.025, CI
95
=0.11 to 0.02
(see Fig. 4), which reduced the direct eect of gender condition on
managersmorality to nonsignicant, b=0.076, SE = 0.06,
t=1.25, p= .213. CI
95
=0.20 to 0.04. This indirect eect re-
mained signicant controlling for adverse impact, b=0.063,
SE = 0.025, CI
95
=0.11 to 0.02. This full mediation is consistent
with the interpretation that when women are in the victim role, those
who inicted this harm are perceived as agentic and intentional.
9.3. Discussion
Study 6 provided additional evidence for a gender bias in moral
typecasting. As predicted by our theoretical framework, managers were
perceived as more intentionally harmful and immoral when they red a
group of women than when they red a group of men. These heigh-
tened perceptions of intentionality suggest a possible mechanism
Fig. 3. Gender of Laid-oEmployees Shapes Pain Perceptions Through Assumptions of Harm Intentionality (Study 6). Note: Among Study 6 participants, increased
perceptions of intentionality mediated the eect of the red employeesgender on perceptions of the victimspain. Unstandardized coecients depicted. Solid line
from IV to DV shows the direct eect of the IV on the DV (c path); the dashed line shows the indirect eect of the IV on the DV (c-prime path).
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
133
through which those who inict harm onto women are attributed blame
and presumed to deserve punishment. Indeed, greater perceptions of
harm intentionality fully mediated the relation between the red em-
ployeesgender and assessments of the managersmorality. This pattern
suggests that when victims more strongly cohere to the cognitive pro-
totype of victim, such as when they are female, greater agency and
intentionality will be attributed to perpetrators, which then inuences
moral judgments. This nding supports the principle of agentic dyadic
completion, whereby individuals impute intentional perpetrators when
they detect suering (Gray & Wegner, 2010). Study 6 revealed nuance
to dyadic completion by showing that intentionality perceptions are
magnied when harmed individuals more strongly t the cognitive
prototype of victims. Likewise, perceptions of greater intentionality also
mediated the eect of the employeesgender on pain perceptions. This
pattern is congruent with previous ndings demonstrating that inten-
tional harm is experienced as more painful than unintentional harm
(Gray & Wegner, 2008).
Results also indicate that plausible cues of gender discrimination
resulting from adverse impact may amplify the typecasting of women
into the victim role and the intensity of moral responses to their harm.
When employees were red from an occupation overwhelmingly
comprised of the other gender, and inferences of systemic gender dis-
crimination seemed more plausible, women, but not similarly impacted
men, were more likely to be labeled victims and assumed to experience
greater pain. Likewise, managers were attributed greater intentionality
when womens, but not mens, ring could be attributed to gender
discrimination. When male employeesring could more (versus less)
plausibly be the result of managersdiscrimination, these men were
assumed to experience less pain and were no more likely to be labeled
victims. The ndings of Study 6 suggest that when men are the possible
victims of gender discrimination, this harm will be taken as incidental,
rather than intentional. This interpretation is consistent with recent
ndings demonstrating that womens underrepresentation in various
occupations is more strongly attributed to prohibitive social forces,
while mens underrepresentation is attributed to internal factors, such
as mens lower motivation or ability (Block, Croft, De Souza, &
Schmader, 2019). The biased application of moral typecasting may
contribute to this pattern, such that women are more readily identied
as victims and men as agents, responsible even for their own dis-
advantages.
Unlike our previous studies, in-group bias manifested among both
female and male participants. Consistent with the pattern of greater
female in-group bias found across the other studies, female participants
perceived the managers to have stronger intentions to harm the red
female (versus male) employees than male participants. However, male
participants perceived red male employees as greater victims than
red female employees. In our six studies across 4 countries, this is the
only nding showing mens reluctance to identify women as victims.
Because this eect was found for only one dependent variable, it should
be interpreted with caution. Mens willingness to identify male laid o
employees as victims may be due to the specic context, job loss,
wherein men generally experience worse outcomes compared to
women (Michniewicz et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2008).
10. General discussion
Across six studies with a total of 3,137 participants, we found
consistent support for our hypothesis that third parties exhibit a biased
application of moral typecasting which cognitively links females with
victimhood and males with perpetration. This pattern emerged not only
with explicitly social scenarios (Studies 1, 3, 4, 5, 6), but also for ani-
mated objects devoid of humanizing attributes (Study 2). Not only did
participants more easily detect female victimization and suering, they
also felt more warmly towards female versus male victims and per-
ceived their suering as less deserved (Study 1) and less fair (Study 5).
Those who inicted harm onto women were evaluated as more inten-
tional and immoral (Studies 5, 6) and evoked stronger punitive re-
sponses (Study 4). These patterns suggest those who harm women will
be attributed greater intentional agency and nefarious motivations be-
cause their targets more closely match the cognitive prototype of
victim.
The gender bias in the application of moral typecasting also ex-
tended to the role of perpetrator. Participants more readily typecast
perpetrators as male (Study 2) and desired harsher punishments for
male compared to female perpetrators (Study 4). Moral outrage was
amplied when a group of men was assumed to harm a group of women
(Study 5), revealing the bias aggregates to group-level harm, and sug-
gests that the combination of male perpetrators and female victims
most strongly activates harm detection. Moreover, the gender bias in
the evaluation of group-level harm could not be explained entirely by
inferences of discrimination due to disparate impact (Study 6). Indeed,
the possibility of gender discrimination enhanced the cognitive link
between women and victimhood, suggesting womens harm due to
systemic forces will also be more easily recognized compared to mens.
The biased application of moral typecasting emerged across four cul-
tures and persisted in circumstances where victimization was unclear,
suggesting it a robust feature of human cognition. One exception to this
pattern was in contexts where an individuals patiency was made salient
through a neurological impairment (Study 3), suggesting that third
party observers do not unyieldingly apply biased typecasting, but
Fig. 4. Gender of Laid-oEmployees Shapes Evaluations of Managers Morality Through Assumptions of Harm Intentionality (Study 6). Note: Among Study 6
participants, increased perceptions of intentionality mediated the eect of the red employeesgender on evaluations of the managerial teams morality.
Unstandardized coecients depicted. Solid line from IV to DV shows the direct eect of the IV on the DV (c path); the dashed line shows the indirect eect of the IV
on the DV (c-prime path).
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
134
instead rely on more predictive cues of an individuals relative patiency
when evaluating harm.
We found that individuals felt less compelled to forgive and more
motivated to punish male than female perpetrators, even in the form of
investigations and job termination (Study 4). If this pattern extends to
workplace disputes and allegations, then male employees and managers
who are accused of discrimination or harassment are likely to receive
disproportionately harsher penalties than female employees and man-
agers similarly accused. Indeed, the ndings of Study 4 revealed male
perpetrators were less desired as coworkers and managers than female
perpetrators, indicating this bias can aect employeeslikelihood of
ascending the organizational hierarchy, assuming they have not already
lost their jobs. Research on legal sentencing converges with our nd-
ings. In the courtroom, female defendants are less likely to be found
guilty and receive shorter sentences than male defendants, even ac-
counting for crime severity (Mazzella & Feingold, 1994; Mustard, 2001;
Shields & Cochran, 2019). Indeed, male oenders who victimize fe-
males receive the longest sentences, compared to other gender pairings
(Curry, Lee, & Rodriguez, 2004). Taken together, these patterns suggest
it is cognitively more challenging for people to detect and respond to
evidence of female than male perpetration, just as it is more challenging
to recognize male (versus female) victimization.
These patterns suggest that in organizations, managers and HR re-
presentatives may respond more proactively when female employees
claim victimization compared to when male employees make similar
claims. In the latter case, organizational decision-makers may even
dispute or ignore claims of genuine male victimhood. The current
ndings suggest swift intervention and punishment will most likely
follow female employeesclaims of mistreatment from men, whereas
the reverse (men claiming mistreatment by women) will be interpreted
and adjudicated less seriously. If mens mistreatment is systematically
met with relative apathy, this may discourage mens reporting of
workplace mistreatment and discrimination, leading to underestimates
of its prevalence. In recent years, organizations have implemented ro-
bust procedures to minimize gender bias in selection and promotion
decisions, where greater ascriptions of male agency harm womens
hierarchy ascension. As the other side of that coin, similar preemptive
procedures may be necessary to minimize gender bias in responses to
claims of harm, where greater ascriptions of male agency impair con-
cern for male suering. Organizations committed to impartiality might
consider expanding bias-reducing policies from hiring and promotion
contexts (e.g., blind review, independent auditing bodies) to mistreat-
ment contexts, if the goal is to promote equal treatment of both their
male and female workforce.
At rst glance, this pattern of diminished punishment towards fe-
male perpetrators seems at odds with the broader literature on backlash
against womens expressions of agency. However, these patterns are
reconcilable. Across a range of contexts, individuals espouse the ste-
reotype that compared to men, women are higher in communality and
warmth, but lower in agency (Eagly & Mladinic, 1994; Fiske, Cuddy, &
Glick, 2007). Indeed, these beliefs generally lead to more favorable
views towards women (Eagly & Mladinic, 1989). Backlash occurs when
an individualof either genderbehaves unambiguously in a manner
incongruent with these stereotypes. When women behave in an agentic
manner, such as when they negotiate, seek power, or self-promote, they
are consequently perceived as lacking in communal traits (Bowles,
Babcock, & Lai, 2007; Okimoto & Brescoll, 2010; Rudman, 1998),
which strongly predict interpersonal liking (Fiske, Xu, Cuddy, & Glick,
1999). Likewise, when men violate gendered stereotypes of lowered
communality, such as when they advocate on behalf of others, they are
consequently perceived as lacking in agency (Bosak, Kulich, Rudman, &
Kinahan, 2018). These patterns suggest that agency and communality
are treated, to some degree, as interrelated and oppositional traits. That
is, when an individual violates their respective gender stereotype in one
domain, they are assumed to also deviate from the gender stereotype in
the other domain.
In the current work, we demonstrate that people continue to apply
these gender stereotypes of agency and communality into contexts
surrounding harm. Because men are assumed to possess greater agency,
it is cognitively easier to perceive them as perpetrators than victims.
Because women are assumed to possess lower agency and higher
communality, it is cognitively easier to typecast them as victims than
perpetrators. Moreover, the results of Study 1 suggest that when the
cognitive template surrounding harm is activated (i.e., by using the
language of victim and perpetrator) and the moral context is made
salient, these gender stereotypes become increasingly inuential. A si-
milar interpretation can be made for Study 6, whereby increasing the
plausibility of intentional harm (i.e., discrimination due to adverse
impact) enhanced the cognitive link between women and victimhood.
These patterns suggest that gender stereotypes might be especially
likely to inuence judgments in the moral domain. Perhaps when harm
is at stake, human cognition reliably errors to prevent the costlier error
(Haselton & Nettle, 2006). As noted in our introduction, women set the
upper limit on reproduction. Thus, it is possible the human cognitive
system was shaped by natural selection to make the safer error (in terms
of reproduction) and protect women from harm. Likewise, if men are
the primary culprits of physical violence (Archer, 2004), then it is safer
to assume they are perpetrators and dole out punishments accordingly.
Our ndings also appear inconsistent with the commonly held
perception that female victims of sexual assault are assigned agency
and are therefore blamed for being assaulted. Notably, research on
victim blaming and punishment in the context of sexual assault has
found that male sexual assault victims receive more blame and less
empathy than female victims (Davies, Pollard, & Archer, 2006; Davies,
Rogers, & Whitelegg, 2009; Davies, Smith, & Rogers, 2009; Gerber,
Cronin, & Steigman, 2004; Osman, 2011), sexual perpetrators are more
harshly blamed and punished when they victimize a woman than a man
(Gerber et al., 2004; Mitchell, Angelone, Kohlberger, & Hirschman,
2009), and male sexual perpetrators receive less empathy and stronger
attributions of guilt than do female perpetrators (Osman, 2011; Russell,
Oswald, & Kraus, 2011). These ndings parallel the pattern uncovered
here and suggest that gender bias in moral typecasting extends to in-
stances of sexual violence, but further research is required to test this
possibility.
To be sure, the studies presented here have several limitations. First,
they relied on self-report data and hypothetical scenarios, and cannot
speak with certainty to whether actual behavior would follow the
predicted pattern. However, as we report above, there is evidence for
gender discrepancies in treatment across many domains that are con-
sistent with our predictions and results. Second, our investigation only
explored one boundary condition of the biased application of moral
typecasting (i.e., increased patiency through neurological impairment).
It is possible that shifts in the other side of typecasting increasing
agencymay also minimize the gender asymmetry in typecasting.
Perhaps augmenting the saliency of womens agentic capacities would
eliminate the biased application of moral typecasting. If so, it is possible
that female managers do not similarly benet from the biased appli-
cation of moral typecasting as women who are in non-managerial po-
sitions. Third, our investigation did not examine any of the individual
dierences that might predict biased application of moral typecasting
beyond participant gender. Study 4s mediation analyses revealed that
assumption of greater female pain predicted harsher punishments to-
wards perpetrators. Future investigations might therefore examine
whether individual dierences related to pain sensitivity, such as em-
pathy, predict the magnitude of ones gender bias in typecasting.
Alternatively, endorsement of gender-related ideologies, such as fem-
inism or benevolent sexism, may also shape the degree to which people
exhibit gender asymmetries in their moral typecasting.
Four of our studies revealed female participants more readily
typecast women as victims than male participants (Studies 1, 2, 5, 6).
However, Study 3 found male participants were especially sensitive to
female suering. Thus, rm conclusions about which gender more
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
135
strongly exhibits biased typecasting cannot be drawn from our data.
Because Study 3 employed a Chinese sample, it is possible the reversal
in typecasting, such that men showed stronger asymmetries, stemmed
from cultural dierences. Indeed, Study 6s American male participants
were more inclined to label red male (versus female) employees vic-
tims, suggesting American men may show the predicted bias less
strongly. However, given that Study 6s scenario relied on a context
where men generally suer worse outcomesjob loss (Wang et al.,
2008)it is also possible Study 6s male participants were merely more
aware of these true discrepancies than were female participants.
Future research should use a broader array of scenarios and samples
to determine whether men or women more strongly detect female
victimization and under which circumstances. Some ndings from the
extant literature suggest women exhibit this biased application of
typecasting more reliably than men. For example, in lab experiments,
women redistributed payments more favorably toward low-earning
female workers than low-earning male workers, while men showed no
gender bias (Cappelen et al., 2017). This pattern was mirrored outside
the laboratory; among workplace sex discrimination claims, female
plaintis were more likely to settle and win compensation when their
case was adjudicated by a female than male judge (Knepper, 2017). In
online labor markets, female employers showed a stronger hiring bias
in favor of female compared to matched-sample male applicants, than
did male employers (Chan & Wang, 2017). In academia, female scien-
tists believed fellow female investigators were more rational, open-
minded, and demonstrated more integrity than male investigators,
while male scientists did not exhibit gender-based asymmetries in their
assessments (Veldkamp, Hartgerink, van Assen, & Wicherts, 2017). Our
ndings suggest this broader pattern may emerge from womens
stronger cognitive association between women and victimhood.
Our investigation contributes to the organizational behavior litera-
ture in several ways. First, it reveals the potential for managers to
systematically violate core principles of procedural justice (Leventhal,
1980; Tyler, 1994) including consistency, bias suppression, accuracy,
and ethicality. Perceptions of procedural fairness have signicant ef-
fects on a host of organizational outcomes (Colquitt, Conlon, Wesson,
Porter, & Yee, 2001). Thus, managers who fail to apply equivalent
standards of treatment to members of groups may create perceptions
that organizational decisions are illegitimate, immoral, or unjust.
Scholars who lament and document discrimination against women have
espoused this rationale as grounds for demanding policy change to
rectify such injustices. Our ndings suggest these biases can cut both
ways and that menssuering may be minimized or simply ignored.
It is worth noting that our studies examined only one side of the
biased application of moral typecasting. We demonstrated that in si-
tuations involving harm, women are more easily typecast as victims
than men, which may lead women to receive disproportionate levels of
concern or support in response to their suering. If women are more
easily categorized as patients than agents, this biased typecasting may
simultaneously disadvantage women in their pursuit of leadership
roles, where agency is required for reaching decisions, delegating tasks,
and garnering respect (Eagly & Karau, 2002; Heilman, 2012). Indeed, a
wide body of research has examined how benevolent sexisman
ideological belief that women require care and protection from men
(Glicke & Fiske, 1996)harms womens access to challenging work-
place opportunities that promote growth (King et al., 2012) and impairs
perceptions of womens competence and suitability for managerial roles
(Becker, Glick, Ilic, & Bohner, 2011). It is possible the biased applica-
tion of moral typecasting demonstrated here extends to contexts that do
not involve harm and contributes to reduced attributions of female
agency, and consequently, leadership potential. Future research could
benet from examining the potentially far-reaching implications of this
theoretical model in explaining asymmetrical treatment of men and
women across various organizational contexts.
Our research also oers implications for the study of morality and
behavioral ethics in organizations. As noted earlier, scholars have
documented a variety of ethical blind spots when forming moral
judgments. Bazerman and Tenbrunsel (2011) argue blind spots result
not only from reliance on heuristics, but also from motivated processes,
such as in-group bias. These blind spots can lead individuals to behave
against publicly professed values (e.g., impartiality). Our overall nd-
ings and those demonstrating womens stronger detection of female
suering (Studies 1, 2, 5, 6) suggests that in many moral dilemmas,
human judgment is both a product of the application mental shortcuts
(moral typecasting) and a motivated process that favors ones in-group
over abstract ethical principles (e.g., every persons pain deserves equal
moral consideration). Our data suggest that a complete model of how
individuals fall prey to ethical blind spots should consider the char-
acteristics of the involved actors, such as gender.
11. Conclusion
Although past research has examined the inuence of gender ste-
reotypes on managerial decision-making, this paper is the rst, to our
knowledge, to demonstrate and dissect the inuence of these stereo-
types in a moral context. The current ndings bridge two bodies of
workdescriptive gender stereotypes and moral evaluationsto reveal
that gendered assumptions about relative agency or patiency shape
assessments of a wide and diverse set of judgments: morality, fairness,
responsibility, sympathy, punishment, and compensatory aid. Although
these gendered assumptions generally align with base rates of harm,
possibly resembling a useful heuristic in some cases, our ndings reveal
that they generate systematic errors in harm evaluation. As a con-
sequence, these biases may lead evaluators to systematically deviate
from impartiality, failing to live up the ideal that all individuals should
be treated equally. The principle of impartiality is enshrined in legal
systems around the world and has been propounded by civil rights
activists throughout history to justify the immorality of discrimination.
The biased application of moral typecasting may be used to justify
unequal attributions of blame, generating disparities in punishment and
aid. Crucially, the current ndings suggest that identical transgressions
will be dierentially adjudicated based solely on the gender of the
parties involved. Moreover, our results suggest that the moral domain is
especially likely to evoke disparate gendered assumptions, indicating
that some of the most egregious forms of gender discrimination may
manifest in contexts involving harm.
Funding
This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway,
through its Centres of Excellence Scheme, FAIR project No 262675, and
its Centres of Research-based Innovation, CSI project No 203432/030.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Tania Reynolds: Writing - original draft, Writing - review &
editing, Formal analysis, Methodology. Chuck Howard: Writing - ori-
ginal draft, Methodology, Formal analysis. Hallgeir Sjåstad:
Conceptualization, Writing-review & editing, Investigation. Luke Zhu:
Investigation. Tyler G. Okimoto: Methodology, Investigation, Writing-
Original draft. Roy F. Baumeister: Conceptualization, Funding acqui-
sition. Karl Aquino: Conceptualization, Supervision, Writing - review &
editing, Methodology, Funding acquisition. JongHan Kim:
Investigation.
Appendix
Additional Measures and Verbatim Stimuli Across Studies
Study 1
A number of additional measures were captured in Study 1 for
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
136
exploratory purposes. Although beyond the scope of the current in-
vestigation, we report full details of those measures herein, as well as
preliminary ndings from exploratory analyses. Generally speaking,
these additional results support the main nding that the assumption
that the victim is female translates into more positive reactions toward
the victim and more negative reactions toward the oender (irrespec-
tive of the oenders gender).
Oender perceptions. Participants completed the same measures in
response to the oender as they did for the victim. That is, participants
provided their assessments of the oender using the 10-item attitude
scale (α= 0.91; Philpot & Hornsey, 2008) and the 9-item moral ap-
praisal scale (α= 0.83; Philpot & Hornsey, 2008). They also reported
their recollection of the target as being male or female (reading com-
prehension check). Exploratory analysis examined the association be-
tween oender gender and participantsaective responses to and
moral judgments of that oender. Analysis of covariance (using label,
scenario, and participant gender as covariates) indicated no signicant
dierence of the oender gender manipulation on either aective re-
actions toward the oender (M= 2.38, SD = 1.10), F(1,295) = 0.04,
p= .844, η2
p
< .001, nor moral judgements of the oender
(M= 3.10, SD = 1.05), F(1,295) = 1.49, p= .223, η
2
p
= .005.
Willingness to integrate. Participants were asked about their beha-
vioral orientation toward the victim and the oender using two dif-
ferent scales. The rst involved a 12-item behavioral orientation scale
(victim α= 0.95; oender α= 0.91; Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2007). The
second involved a 5-item scale assessingwillingness to work with the
targets (victim α= 0.96; oender α= 0.94; Gromet & Okimoto, 2014).
Exploratory analyses tested the eect of oender gender and assumed
victim gender (and their interaction) on willingness to integrate each
party (ANCOVA, with label, scenario, and participant gender as cov-
ariates). For the victim, results indicated a more positive behavioral
orientation toward the victim when they assumed that victim was fe-
male (M
estimated
= 6.01, SE = 0.068) versus male (M
estimated
= 5.60,
SE = 0.134), F(1,293) = 7.332, p= .007, η
2
p
= .024. However, there
was no signicant eect of oender gender, or the interaction between
oender and victim gender, Fs < 0.12. This pattern did not replicate
when examining participantswillingness to work with the victim,
Fs < 1.67. For the oender, results indicated a marginally less positive
behavioral orientation toward the oender when they assumed the
victim was female (M
estimated
= 2.77, SE = 0.073) versus male
(M
estimated
= 3.09, SE = 0.144), F(1,293) = 3.75, p= .054, η2
p
= .013;
however, ratings were unaected by oender gender or the interaction
term, Fs < 1.5. Similarly, participants were less willing to work with
the oender when the assumed the victim was female (M
estimated
= 1.68,
SE = 0.077) versus male (M
estimated
= 2.12, SE = 0.151), F
(1,293) = 6.61, p= .011, η
2
p
= .022; again, ratings were unaected by
oender gender or the interaction term, Fs < 0.65. Overall, partici-
pantswillingness to integrate the two parties were unaected by of-
fender gender, but were inuenced by the assumption that the victim
was female (versus male), generating more favorable reactions toward
the victim and less favorable reactions toward the oender.
Victim entitlements. Participants were asked a series of ad hoc
questions intended to tap into perceptions of the victims entitlements
(α= 0.89) by rating their 7-point scale agreement with 6 statements: 1)
Organizational leaders have an obligation to help [the target]; 2) It
should be made clear that there is a high degree of concern for [the
target]; 3) [The target] is entitled to any type of support that he/she
wants.; 4) [The target] should know that he/she was not at fault in any
way; 5) Organizational leaders are obliged to acknowledge [the tar-
get]ssuering; and 6) It should be made clear that what happened to
[the target] was wrong. Exploratory analysis tested the eect of of-
fender gender and assumed victim gender (and their interaction) on
victim entitlement (ANCOVA, with label, scenario, and participant
gender as covariates). However, there were no signicant eects of
oender gender, assumed victim gender, or their interaction when ex-
amining victim entitlement, Fs < 2.63.
Oender punishment. Participants were asked two questions
(r= 0.71) about oender punishment (based on Okimoto & Gromet,
2016, Study 1B): 1) How severely should [the target] be punished for
his/her actions in this case? (1 = no punishment, 7 = very severe
punishment); 2) What should be the maximum consequence be for [the
target]'s actions? (1 = Nothing, 2 = Informal discussion, 3 = Write-up
& formal discussion, 4 = Training program, 5 = Put on probation,
6 = Training + probation, 7 = Suspended without pay, 8 = Demoted,
9 = Fired from job, 10 = Fired + criminal charges). Participants were
also asked a series of ad hoc questions about the oenders deserving-
ness of punishment (α= 0.94) by rating their 7-point scale agreement
with 6 statements: 1) Organizational leaders have an obligation to
punish [the target]; 2) [The target] should be made to suer for his/her
actions; 3) [The target] deserves to be punished; 4) [The target] needs
to be taught a lesson; 5) Organizational leaders should punish [the
target]; and 6) [The target] ought to suer for what s/he did to [the
victim]. Exploratory analysis tested the eect of oender gender and
assumed victim gender (and their interaction) on all three measures
capturing oender punishment (ANCOVA, with label, scenario, and
participant gender as covariates). Results indicated no signicant ef-
fects, Fs< 2.28.
Empathy. Participants reported their level of cognitive and emo-
tional empathy (Davis, 1983) felt toward both the victim (cognition
α= 0.85; emotion α= 0.90) and oender (cognition α= 0.91; emo-
tion α= 0.79). Exploratory analysis tested the eect of oender gender
and assumed victim gender (and their interaction) on victim/oender
cognitive/emotional empathy (ANCOVA, with label, scenario, and
participant gender as covariates). For empathy toward the victim, re-
sults indicated no signicant eects, Fs < 1.89. For empathy toward
the oender, results showed less emotional empathy toward the of-
fender when the victim was assumed to be female (M
estimated
= 1.79,
SE = 0.065) versus male (M
estimated
= 2.22, SE = 0.128), F
(1,293) = 7.226, p= .008, η2
p
= .024. However, there was no parallel
eect on cognitive empathy, F(1,293) = 0.129, p= .720, η2
p
< .001.
As before, there were no signicant eects of oender gender or the
interaction between oender and victim gender on empathy toward the
oender, F< 1.11.
Restorative/retributive orientation. At the end of the survey, partici-
pants self-reported their justice orientation with a revised version of the
measure from Okimoto, Wenzel, and Feather (2012). This measure was
included for scale validation purposes, and was not relevant to the
current investigation; therefore, no exploratory analyses were con-
ducted.
Study 3
The scenario used in Study 3 is presented below. Depending on
condition, Employee A and B were named either Carrie or Steve.
Italicized statements were presented for the neurological impairment
condition only.
[Employee A] has an untreatable neurological condition and a slight
cognitive impairment. [Employee A] is very sociable and often ap-
proaches people (s)he doesnt know and starts talking to them. However,
(s)he has diculty reading social cues and often doesnt know how to act
appropriately, especially in professional environments.
[Employee A] works in an oce with [Employee B]. [Employee A]
is fairly new to the job and wants to make friends, so (s)he goes out of
his/her way to interact with the people (s)he meets. For example, (s)he
often high-ves or st bumps co-workers as (s)he passes them in the
halls. Sometimes, (s)he hugs people (s)he particularly likes or touches
their arm when talking to them. [Employee A] also likes to pay com-
pliments, but his/her compliments often seem odd to their recipients.
For example, (s)he told one co-worker, Youre a lot smarter than you
seem.
[Employee A] likes [Employee B]. [Employee A]s not sexually at-
tracted to him/her}, but (s)he thinks (s)he is nice and often stops by
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
137
his/her cubicle during the day to say hello. [Employee B] nds
[Employee A]s interest in him/her distracting. [Employee B] once had
a bad experience with [Employee A] when (s)he gave him/her a high
ve in the lunchroom. [Employee A] had mayonnaise on his/her hand
from a sandwich (s)he was eating, which got onto [Employee B]s hand,
and slightly repulsed him/her. After that, (s)he started dreading having
to interact with [Employee A].
One day [Employee B] was late for work because his/her car broke
down and it was raining. [Employee B] had to pay $90 to have his/her
car towed to the shop and (s)he was soaking wet when (s)he got to
work. On his/her way to his/her cubicle, (s)he happened to run into
[Employee A]. [Employee A] asked him/her what happened and why
(s)he was so wet. [Employee B] told him/her about the car. [Employee
A] then drew him/her towards him/her for a hug and said Poor
[Employee B]. I hope the rest of your day goes better.[Employee B]
tensed up and after (s)he let him/her go, (s)he told him/her (s)he was
really busy and needed to get back to work. [Employee B] didnt see
him/her again for the rest of the day.
Throughout the week, [Employee B] thought about [Employee A]s
behaviors and decided (s)he didnt want him/her around because (s)he
made him/her uncomfortable. [Employee B] wrote a report listing all
the ways (s)he had created an uncomfortable work environment for
him/her, including touching him/her inappropriately. [Employee B]
sent the report to the companys human resources manager. A couple of
days later, [Employee A] was red.
Dependent measures
Perceived control. Participants indicated the degree to which they
perceived the red employee to have control over his/her actions
(1 = no control at all;7=absolute control). An independent samples t-
test revealed perceptions of control did not dier based on the neuro-
logical impairment manipulation, t(2 1 7) = 1.16, p= .245.
Study 4
Harassment. Five items assessed whether participants perceived the
comment as harassment: 1) [Commenter] told a sexually explicit com-
ment;2)[Commenter]s sexual comment should be considered sexual har-
assment;3)Do you think [Recipient] would consider [Commenter]s com-
ment funny? (reverse coded); 4) Do you believe [Recipient] would feel
insulted by [Commenter]s comment?; 5) Do you believe [Commenter] in-
tended to sexually harass [Recipient]?(α= 0.84).
Main eects of recipient gender [F(1, 210) = 10.79, p=.001] and
commenter gender [F(1, 210) = 5.63, p= .019] were qualied by an
interaction between these two variables [F(1, 210) = 4.63, p= .033].
Consistent with the proposition that men are more easily typecast as
agents and women as victims, contrast analysis revealed that partici-
pants perceived the joke to be more harassing when the recipient was
female and the commenter was male (M= 3.53, SE = 0.11) than when
the recipient was male and the commenter was female (M= 2.90,
SE = 0.12, t(2 1 0) = 4.00, p< .001). Perceptions of harassment did
not dier between the latter condition and the two same-sex conditions
(ps > 0.42).
Reporting the comment. To measure the degree to which partici-
pants felt the comment deserved to be reported they completed two
items: 1) If you were [Recipient], how likely would you be to report
Commenters behavior to his/her supervisor?;2)I think [Recipient] would
be totally justied if (s)he went to Commenters supervisor and accused
Commenter of sexual harassment.(α= 0.83).
Consistent with the proposition that women more easily typecast
into the role of a victim who requires protection, a main eect of re-
cipient gender, F(1, 210) = 11.39, p= .001, revealed participants be-
lieved the joke should be reported when it was directed at a woman
(M= 2.94, SE = 0.11) more than when directed at a man (M= 2.44,
SE = 0.10). Furthermore, a main eect of commenter gender, F(1,
210) = 5.39, p= .021, revealed participants believed the joke more
strongly warranted reporting when it was delivered by a man
(M= 2.87, SE = 0.10) than by a woman (M= 2.52, SE = 0.11). This is
consistent with the proposition that men are more easily typecast into
the role of a perpetrator deserving punishment. There was no sig-
nicant interaction between commenter and recipient gender, F(1,
210) = 0.67, p= .41.
Sexual intentions. To measure the extent to which participants
perceived the commenter to be sexually aroused we asked Do you think
that A feels sexually aroused by seeing B bend over to pick up the fork?and
Do you think that seeing B in the bent over position makes him/her an object
of sexual desire for A?(α= 0.88). Main eects of recipient gender, F(1,
210) = 27.17, p< .001, and commenter gender, F(1, 210) = 13.89,
p< .001) were qualied by an interaction between these two vari-
ables, F(1, 210) = 13.63, p< .001. Contrast analysis revealed parti-
cipants believed the commenter was more sexually aroused in the male
commenter-female recipient condition (M= 3.31, SE = 0.14) than
when both parties were female [M= 2.41, SE = 0.12; t(2 1 0) = 5.25,
p< .001], both parties were male [M= 2.23, SE = 0.12, t
(2 1 0) = 6.27, p< .001], or when the commenter was female and the
recipient was male [M= 2.22, SE = 0.11, t(2 1 0) = 6.32, p< .001].
Perceptions of sexual arousal did not dier between the latter three
dyads (ps > 0.28).
Character.We measured participantsjudgments of the commen-
ters character along four dimensions (Goodwin, Piazza, & Rozin,
2014). To measure high morality-high warmth (HMHW), we used the
items: unkind (reverse coded), not helpful (reverse coded), generous,
caring,compassionate,and cooperative (α= 0.90). To measure high
morality-low warmth (HMLW) we used the items: untrustworthy (re-
verse coded), sincere,responsible, and fair (α= 0.86). To measure low
morality-high warmth (LMHW), we used the items: hostile (reverse
coded), warm,outgoing, and friendly (α= 0.77). To measure ability we
used the items: hardworking,competent, and intelligent (α= 0.89).
Perceptions of the commenters character along the high morality-
high warmth (HMHW) and high morality-low warmth (HMLW) di-
mensions followed the same pattern. There was a main eect of com-
menter gender, F(1, 210) = 5.42, p= .021 for HMHW; F(1,
210) = 4.60, p= .033 for HMLW, such that male commenters were
rated lower on these dimensions than female commenters (mean dif-
ference for HMHW = 0.24, p= .021; mean dierence for
HMLW = 0.23, p= .034). There was no main eect of recipient
gender, F(1, 210) = 0.34, p= .56 for HMHW; F(1, 210) = 0.87, p= .35
for HMLW, and there was no commenter by recipient gender interac-
tion, F(1, 210) = 2.59, p= .11 for HMHW; F(1, 210) = 1.99, p= .16
for HMLW.
Turning to perceptions of the commenters character along the
LWHM dimension, there was a marginal main eect of commenter
gender, F(1, 210) = 3.67, p= .057, no main eect of recipient gender,
F(1, 210) = 0.73, p= .39, and a signicant commenter by recipient
gender interaction, F(1, 210) = 4.87, p= .028. Contrast analysis re-
vealed participants rated the female commenter who targeted a man
higher on the LMHW dimension (M= 3.62, SE = 0.09) than the female
commenter who targeted another female [M= 3.31, SE = 0.11, t
(2 1 0) = 2.18, p= .031], the male commenter who targeted another
male [M= 3.20, SE = 0.12, t(2 1 0) = 2.91, p= .004], and the male
commenter who target a female [M= 3.34, SE = 0.09, t(2 1 0) = 1.96.
p= .051]. Perceptions did not dier between the latter three dyads
(ps > 0.34).
Last, with respect to perceptions of the commenters ability, there
was a main eect of commenter gender, F(1, 210) = 5.74, p= .017, a
marginal main eect of recipient gender, F(1, 210) = 3.35, p= .069,
and a marginal commenter by recipient gender interaction, F(1,
210) = 3.35, p= .069. Contrast analysis revealed participants rated the
female commenter joking with a man higher in ability (M= 3.64,
SE = 0.10) than the female commenter joking with another female
[M= 3.22, SE = 0.11, t(2 1 0) = 2.60, p= .010], the male commenter
T. Reynolds, et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 161 (2020) 120–141
138
joking with another male [M= 3.15, SE = 0.13, t(2 1 0) = 2.99,
p= .003], and the male commenter joking with a female [M= 3.15,
SE = 0.09, t(2 1 0) = 2.99. p= .003]. Perceptions did not dier be-
tween the latter three dyads (ps > 0.69).
Sexual objectication beliefs. To measure dierences in beliefs
about sexual objectication we asked Is it wrong for a man/woman to
treat a man/woman as an object of sexual desire?and Do you think that a
man/woman treating a man/woman as a sexual object is an act of op-
pression?where man/woman matched the gender of the commenter
and recipient in the condition (α= 0.84). There was no main eect of
commenter gender, F(1, 210) = 2.52, p= .11, and no main eect of
recipient gender, F(1, 210) = 0.19, p= .66. There was, however, a
signicant commenter by recipient gender interaction, F(1,
210) = 4.42, p= .037. Contrast analysis revealed participants felt
sexual objectication was signicantly more oppressive and objec-
tionable when a man objecties a woman (M= 3.77, SE = 0.18) than
when a woman objecties a woman [M= 3.16, SE = 0.17, t
(2 1 0) = 2.61, p= .010], marginally more oppressive and objection-
able when a man objecties a man [M= 3.35, SE = 0.16, t
(2 1 0) = 1.79, p= .075], and directionally more oppressive and ob-
jectionable when a woman objecties a man [M= 3.44, SE = 0.16, t
(2 1 0) = 1.43, p= .154]. Beliefs regarding objectication did not dier
between the latter three dyads (ps > 0.23).
Attractiveness. Participants provided their perceptions of the tar-
getsattractiveness by answering the following questions on a 7-point
Likert scale (1 = Very unattractive,7=Very attractive): How would you
rate A in terms of physical attractiveness?and How would you rate B in
terms of physical attractiveness?These items were included to explore
the idea that perceived attractiveness of a commenter or recipient
might vary based on the gender of the other person in the dyad. More
concretely, this measure allowed us to test the hypotheses that a male
commenter is seen as less attractive when he tells the joke to a woman
compared to when he tells it to a man, and that a female recipient is
seen as less attractive when targeted by a man vs. woman. These hy-
potheses were not supported (ps > 0.24).
Study 5
Below we present the scenario used in Study 5:
The following is a case involving a company and a decision it made
about how to maintain its protability. Please read the case carefully as
you will be asked answer several questions about the companys ac-
tions.
Jarvis manufacturing
Jarvis Manufacturing is a private company that makes specialized
ski apparel. It employs 200 people and has been in business for
30 years. The companys prots have been slowly declining as the
market has become saturated with competitors from Eastern Europe
and Asia. Although the company is not in serious nancial trouble yet,
its top management team, which consists of the companys founder and
CEO, Chief Operating and Finance Ocer, and Vice President of Human
Resources, analyzed the companys structure, operations, and nancial
situation at a recent strategy meeting. They concluded that one way
Jarvis can maintain its protability and remain competitive is to lay o
some of its workforce.
The jobs they decided to eliminate were redundant and could be
performed by fewer people without seriously compromising company
operations. Furthermore, the management team estimated that elim-
inating these jobs would increase protability by about 35% per year
over the next three years. However, some of the employees currently in
these jobs had been working at Jarvis for some time. In its nal ana-
lysis, the management team believed that eliminating these jobs was
necessary to streamline operations and improve the companysposition
in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
In the end, the management team implemented their plan and 9
employees were laid o.All of them were men/women and none of
them had college degrees. They had been working at Jarvis for an
average of 5 years.
The aftermath
Jarvis gave each man/women they laid oa severance package of
two weeks salary and $100 for each year they had been employed with
the company. Three months later, 7 of the 9 men/women who had been
laid ofound new jobs, but at lower salaries than they received at
Jarvis. Three of the men/women had to relocate to a new city to get a
job. Two were still unemployed.
One year after the layos, Jarvis increased its prot margin by 3%
and operations were running more eciently.
Study 6
Below is the scenario used in Study 6, with portions varying across
condition underlined:
Jarvis is a private company that specializes in chemical manu-
facturing/nursing care. It employs 200 manufacturing/nursing staand
has been in business for 30 years. The companys prots have been
slowly declining as the market has become saturated with competitors.
In a recent strategy meeting, the top management team (the CEO, Chief
Operating Ocer, Chief Financial Ocer) analyzed Jarvisstructure,
operations, and nancial situation. They concluded that one way Jarvis
can increase its protability and remain competitive is to lay osome
of its workforce.
The management team decided to eliminate jobs that were re-
dundant and could be performed by fewer people without seriously
compromising company operations. Furthermore, the management
team estimated that eliminating these jobs would increase protability
by about 35% per year over the next three years. However, some of the
employees currently in these jobs had been working at Jarvis for some
time. In its nal analysis, the management team believed that elim-
inating these jobs was necessary to streamline operations and improve
the companys position in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
In the end, the management team implemented their plan and 9
manufacturing/nursing employees were laid o. All of them were men/
women, and each had been with the company for around 5 years. None
of these men/women had college degrees, which would make securing
a new position in an increasingly competitive workforce challenging.
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