Investigating gendered reactions to manager mistreatment: Testing the presumed role of prescriptive stereotypes. By: Mu, Frank; Shen, Winny; Bobocel, D. Ramona and Barron, Amy H. 2024. Journal of Organizational Behavior. p1.

Summary Emerging research demonstrates that female managers who mistreat their subordinates suffer more severe negative consequences than male managers. Researchers presume this is because women (but not men) are penalized for acting incongruently with communality prescriptions (i.e., being insufficiently kind). However, integrating this work with the broader literature on gender and leadership, gendered reactions to mistreatment could also—or alternatively—be explained by incongruence with high agency proscriptions (i.e., being too dominant). We model these mechanisms simultaneously in a moderated mediation model across three studies, and find that employees are less trusting of female than male managers because they interpret interpersonal justice violations from women as incongruent with low agency prescriptions. Our results challenge a prevailing assumption in the mistreatment literature by revealing that female managers suffer more severe relational consequences than male managers because their violation of interpersonal justice is construed as excessively agentic, whereas these behaviors are viewed as similarly contravening communality for both male and female managers. By directly testing and correctly specifying the mechanism through which manager gender can shape social exchange processes in the aftermath of manager mistreatment, our studies have scientific and practical implications.