Women, Men, and Dominance in Small Groups: A Social Roles Assessment

Aysan Sev'er
1991 Canadian journal of sociology  
There are at least three views about the role of dominance in task groups. According to one view, dominance leads to influence. In contrast, the performance view suggests that task cues will be the basis of influence hierarchies in task groups. The third conceptualization, social roles, considers the link between gender and the evaluation of behavioural styles of the interactants. In the present paper, the latter position is used to argue that dominance by women and men will lead to
more » ... rewards and differential evaluations. To test the argument, an experiment was conducted that held dominance constant, but varied confederates' and subjects' sex. Naive subjects' ratings in same-sex groups were used as controls. As expected, the male confederate received higher rewards, and more positive ratings on affective dimensions. This pattern was not observed in control conditions. The findings suggest that it is not "sex" of the interactants alone, but their sex and dominance that led to the observations. Contrary to expectations, sex of the confederates did not determine the task competence and status attributions to them. Both received very high ratings. Implications of these findings to other decision making situations are discussed. It is concluded that theories about dominance should not overlook the sex of the dominator.
doi:10.2307/3340677 fatcat:vhbt3sxmhjc4lcdpfml3in4d2i