Academic journal article College Student Journal

Attitudinal Differences toward Women Managers by Students at Different Stages of Their Business Education

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Attitudinal Differences toward Women Managers by Students at Different Stages of Their Business Education

Article excerpt

There are numerous research studies that have investigated the attitude toward women managers across the globe. Most of the findings indicate that positive and negative attitudes toward women managers can be influenced, among other things, by cultural variables. The goal of this study was to determine if there are differences in the attitude of graduating business students in comparison to those at an earlier stage of their studies. Samples of second and third year students were compared to those of graduating seniors in the College of Business of a regional university in the southeastern part of the United States using the Women As Managers (WAMS) questionnaire. The expectation was that going through the educational process at the university level may support more positive attitude toward women as managers. The ANOVA and MANOVA analyses indicate that there are no statistically significant differences in the attitude toward women managers at the undergraduate level. Consistent with previous research, however, we found significant differences in attitude toward women managers by gender. The sample of female students, regardless of their educational level, had more positive attitude than their male counterparts toward women managers.


A number of studies have historically been done to assess the attitudes of college students toward women in general. The landmark study was done by Epstein and Bronzaft in 1972. They found that first year college students at the time of their study expected to become more career oriented rather than the 'traditional' housewife. Throughout the 1980s, a number of research studies also found support for more positive attitudes toward women in traditionally male-dominated occupations including the presidency of the United States (Cherlin & Walters, 1981). Also, a national survey of first year college students conducted in 1993 (Higher Education Research Institute) found increased support for women to be less involved in traditional roles like child rearing and house-keeping.

Over the years, various factors have been hypothesized as indicators and/or moderators of the attitudes toward women. These include prevailing attitudes in a particular nation and the historic and traditional roles within a culture. Age cohorts have also been found to influence attitudes toward women's roles in society. Dambrot, Papp, and Whitmore (1984), for example, found that older men and women are more conservative in their attitudes toward women's role in society than their younger counterparts.

Regionalism has also been used as an explanatory factor for the variation in attitudes toward women in the United States. Research studies on a state by state basis for example found that students at the University of Washington in Seattle had more liberal attitudes toward women's role in society than a comparable sample of students from the state of Texas (Lunneborg, 1974; Muehlenhard & Miller, 1988). In general, there are indications by a number of studies that men and women in the Southern part of the United States may have more conservative attitudes toward the roles of women (Hurlbert, 1988). For example, it is more common for men and women from the Southern part of the United States to have more negative attitude toward the employment of married women (Rice & Coates, 1995). Nevertheless, one common theme for research studies that have been done in the United States indicates a more egalitarian attitude toward the role of women in society over the years.

Traditionally, the differences between men and women have been used as excuses to exclude females from certain jobs. Occupational segregation is the term that has been used to describe the heavy concentrations of men and women into different jobs. For example, occupational segregation supposedly explains why men dominate managerial positions while women are often consigned to other occupations with lower pay, status, and responsibility. …

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