Monday, November 11, 2013

Boss man

Americans still prefer a male boss to a female one, Gallup has revealed. My experience is somewhat different.

Gallup has just released results of a poll which, they say, shows that “if Americans were taking a new job and had their choice of a boss, they would prefer a male boss over a female boss by 35% to 23%”. 41% had no preference.

Gallup says that this hasn’t changed very much over recent years, but in 1953, when they first asked the question, 2/3 of respondents preferred a male boss. They don’t say, but I’d guess that social changes have reduced the preference for male bosses.

Naturally, the thing I personally found most interesting was this: “Political partisanship significantly predicts attitudes toward the gender of one's boss, with Democrats essentially breaking even in their preferences, while independents and Republicans prefer a male boss.“ Hm, authoritarian preference of Republicans, perhaps?

I’ve generally preferred female bosses. As a gay man, I find they tend to “get” me more than a heterosexual male boss does (I’ve never had a gay boss, male or female, not really). In my personal experience, females tended to be more in tune with the emotive side of things, with males focused mostly on the logical. Those are stereotypes, of course, but all stereotypes are at least based on truth and in my personal experience these have been true. Others’ experiences will be different.

But this leads me to wonder if our preference for the gender of our boss isn’t based mostly on our own experiences. Since I’ve tended to feel that I fair better with a female boss, I favour them. Seems to me, other people would feel the same way, based on their own experiences. And since men still have enormous advantages in employment and advancement, is it really any surprise that they’re still preferred as bosses?

Social scientists have a lot to research here, looking beyond what opinion polls reveal. These opinion polls give us a snapshot of what people think at a moment in time, and this is no different. I just want to know more, I want to know why people think as they do.

What do you prefer—male or female boss—and why?

1 comment:

Logan said...

I know this is an old post, but I saved it until I had the time to leave a comment. I generally prefer female bosses, although I have had a couple in the past who were just as terrible as most of the male bosses I've had. I find that most men in keadership positions don't umderstand how to interact with a "strong" (in character/power) woman. Many of them are married, but also make enough money that their wives often don't work outside the home. This skews their perception of the female role.

Unfortunately, I work in a male dominated industry and few gains have been made in the male/female ratio at the top.