Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 32 Issue 9 (September 2002), Pages 1771-1991

The Proportion of Women Managers: Where Is the Critical Mass? (pages 1974-1991)

This study examined the impact of proportions of women in management on attitudes of coworkers from two theoretical perspectives. According to Kanter (1977), women's competence, contribution to organizational culture, and status would be better appreciated as their proportion increased. According to Blalock (1967), men would react adversely. Data were collected from 453 managers in Canadian federal departments where the proportions varied from 9%, 20%, 35%, to 45%. Findings did not support either theory. Men made significantly more positive evaluations of women's participation in the organization and of their status in conditions above 20% than in the token condition. In the 45% sample, they recognized women's managerial talents significantly better. Women displayed confidence in their talents, irrespective of proportions. Results are discussed in the light of the influence of individual factors taken into account.

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