When Civic Virtue isn’t Seen as Virtuous: The Effect of Gender Stereotyping on Civic Virtue Expectations for Women
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We examined the extent to which observers’ expectations of target employees’ civic virtue organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) are a function of both observer- (gender stereotype activation, threat) and target-related (gender) influences. Consistent with a role congruity perspective, we proposed that civic virtue (constructive involvement in the political governance process of the organization) will be expected to a lesser extent of women, but only when gender stereotypes are activated. We confirm this hypothesis across two studies. In Study 1, based on a sample of 187 U.S. undergraduate students (101 women, 86 men), we show that less civic virtue is expected of women when observers’ gender stereotypes are experimentally activated (vs. the non-activated condition). Using an additional sample of 197 U.S. undergraduate students (Study 2; 118 women, 79 men), we extend our findings by demonstrating that less civic virtue was expected of women in a high (vs. low) threat (manipulated) condition. Findings for men are included for comparative and general informational purposes only. We observed no significant changes in civic virtue expectations for men due to our study manipulations. Our research extends prior studies by showing that expectations for civic virtue are diminished for women, but only when gender stereotypes and threat are activated.