Race, Gender, and Communication in the Workplace

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Whether a manager is black or white, male or female, the stereotypes that persist in today’s workplace can affect perceptions of managerial communication and undermine a leader’s effectiveness, according to an article recently published in SAGE Open:

Previous research has documented that gender and racial stereotypes affect beliefs about communication style. This study sought to investigate whether these stereotypes would be replicated in a sample of White working adults and whether participants thought that a social skills training program that is usually targeted at women would have an impact on SGO_72ppiRGB_150pixWmanagerial targets’ speech. Results indicated that racial stereotypes were more salient than gender stereotypes, with participants viewing White managers’ speech as more socially appropriate and less emotional, but also as more dominant and articulate than Black managers’ speech. Participants also perceived female managers’ speech as more emotional than male managers’. After training, participants thought that men’s and White managers’ speech would become more emotional, despite the fact that this training has been targeted specifically at female managers. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of examining race and gender in evaluating managerial communication.

Read the article, “Communication Stereotypes and Perceptions of Managers,” published in the SAGE Open October-December 2012 issue by Jessica H. Carlson of Western New England University and Mary Crawford of the University of Connecticut. To learn more about SAGE’s open access outlet for academic research, and to receive e-alerts about newly published articles, please click here.

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