Job Satisfaction of Male and Female Accounting Faculty: The Effect of Sex-Role Orientation and Academic Rank

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The glass ceiling which frequently stops women from gaining access to and advancing in the accounting profession has long been recognized. The accounting profession, like all organizations, has tended to foster self-replication; that is, individuals in the power structure tend to hire, mentor, and advance those individuals who are perceived to be most like themselves. Research has found that these persons tend to be "masculine" men. The academic arm of the profession, while subject to much less scrutiny and study, appears to have subscribed to the same stereotypical masculine orientation as the key to advancement and tenure.

This study examines the relationships among gender, sex-role orientation, academic rank, and job satisfaction among 101 university accounting professors. The Bem Sex-Role Inventory was utilized to measure the masculine and feminine personality characteristics of the respondents and the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) to measure the level of respondent satisfaction. Results indicated that female accounting faculty tend to suppress their feminine characteristics and emphasize their masculines ones while in line for promotion to a higher rank. Furthermore, all accounting faculty, regardless of gender or sex-role orientation were generally satisfied with the nature of work, supervision, and co-workers, but less satisfied with promotion and pay.

INTRODUCTION

Women, in their attempt to gain admission and advance in the so-called "male-dominated professions," have far too frequently encountered gender inequities and barriers-obstacles frequently referred to as the "glass ceiling." Gender discrimination and inequity can take numerous forms. Maupin (1986) suggests that much of the discrimination against women has focused on sex-role stereotyping; i.e., a preconception of their feminine sex characteristics. Included in these preconceptions are that women are reluctant to accept responsibility or assume positions of leadership and that women are frequently absent from the workplace due to marriage and child rearing responsibilities. In contrast, society tends to stereotype males as competitive, non-giving, and judging success by their external accomplishments. Bay et al. (2001, p. 4) reports that the literature suggests that in academia, some of the feminine role characteristics such as lack of competitiveness, lack of assertiveness, patience, receptivity and modesty are traits that may prevent success. Such stereotyping may result in female professors being assigned to more gender-appropriate tasks such as teaching, advising, and student-centered service leaving the more assertive males to conduct the research, which contributes to the successful pursuit of tenure, and to carry on the leadership types of service.

While the academic arm of the accounting profession has been traditionally dominated by male faculty, there has been a marked increase in the number of female entrants into the academic environment. Norgaard (1989) found that there was a significant increase in the number of women accounting faculty members between 1981 and 1988 (14 percent to 22 percent) while only a slight change in the number of male faculty members occurred. In 1994, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) reported that approximately 26 percent of all accounting faculty members were female. The American Accounting Association (AAA) in its study The Report on Supply and Demand for Accounting Professors (AAA, 1994) noted that women comprised 44 percent of the 144 doctoral candidates who expected to enter accounting academia in 1994. Carolfi, et al. (1996) reported that while women are still under represented in the academic accounting profession, institutions have made significant strides in increasing the number of female accounting faculty on staff with 30 percent of the accounting doctorates awarded between 1988 and 1993 granted to women. Collins (2000) reported that between 1991 and 1997, 39. …