The Role of Gender in Government and Nonprofit Workplaces: An Experimental Analysis of Rule Compliance and Supervisor Trust

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions persists. Existing research examines barriers women face in climbing organizational hierarchies, but we know less about women who break past the glass ceiling. Once women obtain supervisory positions, do they face additional hurdles in managing employees? Specifically, how does gender, gender congruence, and rule formalization influence employee rule compliance and trust? Using a survey experiment across both government and nonprofit contexts, we find that both men and women are more likely to trust men managers, but this gender gap is mitigated when rules are written. Gender congruence plays a role for rule compliance, where both men and women are more compliant when the supervisor matches their gender, while gender congruence is only a significant factor for enhancing trust for men. The findings advance role incongruence theory and have implications for the challenges women leaders face in terms of trust and rule following.

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions persists. Existing research examines barriers women face in climbing organizational hierarchies, but we know less about women who break past the glass ceiling. Once women obtain supervisory positions, do they face additional hurdles in managing employees? Specifically, how does gender, gender congruence, and rule formalization influence employee rule compliance and trust? Using a survey experiment across both government and nonprofit contexts, we find that both men and women are more likely to trust men managers, but this gender gap is mitigated when rules are written. Gender congruence plays a role for rule compliance, where both men and women are more compliant when the supervisor matches their gender, while gender congruence is only a significant factor for enhancing trust for men. The findings advance role incongruence theory and have implications for the challenges women leaders face in terms of trust and rule following.

File Type: 13469
Categories: Bias, Employment, Equality, Gender, Gender Equity, Human Resources, Leaders, Leadership, Social Construction, Social Equity