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Research Projects

How does society perceive power-seeking women differently from status-seeking women?
Mishra, S., & Kray, L. J. (2022). The mitigating effect of desiring status on social backlash against ambitious women. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 102, 104355.​

Power-seeking women incur social penalties known as backlash, yet research has identified two motive bases for leadership: power and status. Across five studies (N = 1683) using samples of working professionals, MBA students, undergraduates, and online participants, we find that desiring status is seen as more congruent with feminine stereotypes compared to desiring power, and that women who desire status are less likely to incur backlash compared to women who desire power. 

How do stereotypes and evaluations of women change as they age?
Chatman, J. A., Sharps, D., Mishra, S., Kray, L. J., & North, M. S. (2022). Agentic but not warm: Age-gender interactions and the consequences of stereotype incongruity perceptions for middle-aged professional women. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 173, 104190.

In examining the intersection of age and gender, we find that professional women are seen as more agentic, but also less warm (so at odds with feminine stereotypes) in middle-age compared to their older and younger selves. Our field study showed that middle-aged professional women are viewed as similarly agentic but less warm than men, and that these perceptions have consequences: Unlike men, middle-aged women received lower performance evaluations compared to their younger selves, and this was driven by middle-aged women being seen as "not nice enough". 

How does a man's sense of masculinity affect his reaction to being flirted with at work?
Mishra, S., Lee, M., & Kray, L. J. (2023). Precarious manhood increases men's receptivity to social sexual behavior from attractive women at work. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 104, 104409.

The precarious nature of manhood, a hard-won and easily lost social status, has been linked to negative outcomes such as aggression in men, lower well-being for men and women, and more instances of workplace harassment. We find that precarious manhood also influences men’s perceptions of social sexual behavior (SSB) from women, such that men are more receptive to SSB from attractive women when their manhood is threatened compared to when it is affirmed, as sexual attention from women affirms their sense of masculinity. Our findings suggest that men’s insecurities about their manhood may leave them more vulnerable to potentially problematic workplace behaviors that cater to their sense of masculinity.

Does being powerful affect men's perceptions of inequity more than women's?
Mishra, S., Kray, L. J., Anderson, C.A. (in prep). Turning a blind eye: Men (to a greater extent than women) perceive less inequity when they occupy advantaged positions

In a sample of over 5000 employees from a Fortune 500 company, we find that high-ranking men perceive less inequity within the company compared to high-ranking women, and low-ranking men and women. This effect was replicated examining employees from over 600 different organizations. Considering organizational leadership tends to be male-dominated, and those who perceive less inequity are less willing to support efforts that alleviate inequity, the consequences of advantaged ­­men’s relatively low perceptions of inequity may create a cycle in which organizational inequity perpetuates.

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