Journal of Applied Psychology 2005, Vol. 90, No. 3, 431– 441
Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association 0021-9010/05/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.90.3.431
Same Behavior, Different Consequences: Reactions to Men’s and Women’s Altruistic Citizenship Behavior
Madeline E. Heilman and Julie J. Chen
New York University
In 2 experimental studies, the authors hypothesized that the performance of altruistic citizenship behavior in a work setting would enhance the favorability of men’s (but not women’s) evaluations and recommendations, whereas the withholding of altruistic citizenship behavior would diminish the favorability of women’s (but not men’s) evaluations and recommendations. Results supported the authors’ predictions. Together with the results of a 3rd study demonstrating that work-related altruism is thought to be less optional for women than for men, these results suggest that gender-stereotypic prescriptions regarding how men and women should behave result in different evaluative reactions to the same altruistic behavior, depending on the performer’s sex.
Stereotypes about women are prescriptive as well as descriptive. Not only do they specify what women are like, but they also dictate norms about how women should behave (Burgess & Borgida, 1999; Eagly & Karau, 2002; Heilman, 2001). The studies reported here examine how these gender role prescriptions can affect reactions to women as compared with reactions to men in work settings. Our particular focus is on altruistic citizenship behavior. Specifically, we propose that the same act of work-related altruism will prompt different evaluations and recommendations, depending on the sex of the performer. Altruism has been identified as one of several dimensions of organizational citizenship behavior— behavior that involves prosocial activity in the workplace that increases the effective functioning of the organization (Organ, 1988). Organizational citizenship behaviors are not part of an...