Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Finkelstein, Lisa M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology




A 1992 Business Week survey found that 70% of the 400 American female managers perceived that the domineering male corporate culture impinged on their success. Indeed, this study asserts that organizational climates are gendered and are more or less female-friendly. Using this framework, the present study tested a valenceinstrumentality- expectancy model of the impact of gendered climate variables on workers’ perceptions of fit with leadership and motivation for and pursuit of advancement opportunities. Specifically, this study hypothesized that a female-friendly climate for leadership (i.e., decentralized organizational structures, participative leadership style, and mentoring opportunities) and a general organizational climate of gender equality (i.e., fair and just affirmative action policies, low levels of organizational tolerance of sexual harassment, low levels of tokenism of female workers, and family supportive organizational policies) should have a greater impact on women’s perception of fit with leadership opportunities than for men. As a result, women should have more motivation and pursuit of advancement opportunities (i.e., leadership and promotion opportunities and perceptions of upward mobility). In order to test the above model, 404 adult full-time workers (203 females; 201 males) completed an on-line survey asking them to report their perceptions of the above workplace climates, perceptions of fit with leadership and with the organization, their motivation and pursuit of advancement opportunities, and demographic information. The survey also identified workers’ gender role identification (feminine and masculine orientations) and control variables (human capital, family structure, and organizational structure). Results showed that all climate variables, except for low levels of female tokenism, had positive impacts on both women’s and men’s fit with leadership and motivation and pursuit of advancement opportunities. There were no significant differences in the model between males and females. Results also showed that femininetyped workers, across both males and females, did benefit more from certain femalefriendly climate variables than masculine-typed workers, supporting the concept of stereotypically gendered climates. Implications for organizational responsibility in creating opportunities that benefit the advancement of both male and female workers, as well as directions for future research, are presented.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [193]-211).


xiv, 243 pages




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