Subtle Gender Bias in the Assessment of Managerial Potential

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The effects of gender on evaluations of managerial potential within a corporate assessment center program were investigated. The sample consisted of 375 men and 61 women (94% White, 3% Black, 2.3% Asian, and .7% Hispanic) assessed between 1980 and 1985. Candidates were assessed on their intellectual ability, performance and interpersonal skills, and overall management potential. Women were rated higher than men on the performance-style skills; however, there were no differences in overall management potential ratings or in actual long-term job advancement. The results suggest that subtle gender bias affects evaluations of managerial potential and subsequent promotion decisions.