Tech & Work

Are angry women incompetent?

I mentioned in a previous blog that the annual meeting of the Academy of Management was being held last week in Philadelphia. The topic I mentioned in that blog was how a study that seemed to indicate that the best way to get ahead in the workplace is to be a tyrant.

According to CNN, the controversial results of another survey were going to be released at that same conference. This study, conducted by Victoria Brescoll, a post-doctoral scholar at Yale University, shows that "a man who gets angry at work may well be admired for it but a woman who shows anger in the workplace is liable to be seen as 'out of control' and incompetent."

(You have to wonder if the conference itself is not a big ole lab experiment. It's like they're releasing all of these survey results just to see how long it takes the men and women attendees to break out in fist fights.)

Conspiracy theory aside, here's the basic breakdown of the experiment conducted on anger and gender:

Brescoll conducted three tests in which men and women watched videos of a job interview and were asked to rate the applicants' status and assign them a salary. In the first instance, the scripts were the same except where the candidate described feeling either angry or sad about losing an account due to a colleague's late arrival at a meeting. Here's how the ratings broke down in order of status assigned, in descending order:

  • Man who said he was angry
  • Woman who said she was sad
  • Man who said he was sad
  • Woman who said she was mad (this was last by a large margin)

And, it gets worse. The average salary assigned to the angry man was almost $38,000 compared to about $23,500 for the angry woman and in the region of $30,000 for the other two candidates.

At the risk of coming across as incompetent, WHAT KIND OF CRAP IS THAT?!

In the CNN piece, Brescoll explains that the attitude is not conscious, that "People are hardly aware of it." That makes me feel better...not at all.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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