Sex Roles

, Volume 11, Issue 9–10, pp 869–880

Situational moderators of gender differences in reward allocations

  • Brenda Major
  • Jeffrey B. Adams

DOI: 10.1007/BF00287816

Cite this article as:
Major, B. & Adams, J.B. Sex Roles (1984) 11: 869. doi:10.1007/BF00287816


This experiment investigated the impact of four variables, hypothesized to convey cues as to sex-role appropriate behavior, on gender differences in reward allocations between self and a co-worker. These variables were: expectations for future interactions with the co-worker, sex of co-worker, type of reward, and type of allocation decision. Males and females were asked to indicate how they would allocate money or course points between themselves and a same or opposite sex co-worker with inferior performance. Females allocated either type of reward more equitably than males when making independent allocations. When making joint (zero-sum) allocations, however, both sexes allocated rewards more equitably with a same-sex co-worker than with an opposite-sex co-worker when future interaction with the co-worker was expected. Grades were seen as more important than money by both sexes, and both men and women allocated course points more equitably than money. Type of reward did not, however, differentially affect men's and women's allocation patterns. Overall, independent allocations were more equitable than joint allocations. Results are discussed as suggesting that gender differences in reward allocations are not a result of inherent personality differences between the sexes but rather reflect the influence of situational factors that can arouse sex-role specific self-presentational concerns.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda Major
    • 1
  • Jeffrey B. Adams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at BuffaloBuffalo

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