Self-derogating behavior in women-fixed or flexible: The effects of co-worker's sex

Madeline E. Heilman, Kathy E. Kram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifty men and 50 women insurance company employees participated in a study designed to demonstrate that situational variables influence the degree to which women engage in self-defeating attributional tendencies. Subjects, who were led to believe they were working on a joint decision-making task with either a male or female, were given predetermined positive or negative feedback about their pair's performance. Results indicated that, as predicted, women's tendencies to derogate themselves were evident when working with males but negligible when working with females. When paired with a female as compared to a male, women subjects accepted more responsibility for success and less for failure, and reported greater confidence about their future performance. The coworker sex variable is interpreted as only one among many that can have impact on a woman's self-perception of competence. The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Performance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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