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Sex and sycophancy: Communication strategies for ascendance in same-sex and mixed-sex superior-subordinate dyads


The purpose of this study was to examine communication strategies for ascendance in same-sex and mixed-sex superior-subordinate dyads. The strategies, operationalized in terms of task and social facilitation, were derived from Bales' Interaction Process Analysis categories. Corollary data were collected relative to the subordinate's expected job satisfaction under male versus female supervision. Results indicated that (1) the perceived importance of task versus social facilitative strategies varied both within and across the four types of dyads, and (2) female subordinates expected to be more satisfied working under female supervision than did male subordinates.

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The authors would like to thank Ralph Kilmann and John Grant, Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, for their assistance in providing subjects for this study.

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Sussman, L., Pickett, T.A., Berzinski, I.A. et al. Sex and sycophancy: Communication strategies for ascendance in same-sex and mixed-sex superior-subordinate dyads. Sex Roles 6, 113–127 (1980).

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  • Social Psychology
  • Communication Strategy
  • Analysis Category
  • Social Facilitation
  • Male Subordinate