PURPOSE: Although Schein’s gender role management stereotype hypothesis has been examined in many countries around the world, no studies specifically examine the combined effects of race and gender on this phenomenon. The purpose of this paper is to use an intersectional analysis to test the hypothesis among different race and gender groups in South Africa.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: The 92-item Schein descriptive index was randomly administered to 592 black men, white men, black women, and white women managers. The degree of resemblance between the descriptions of men and successful managers and between women and successful managers was determined by computing intra-class correlation coefficients.
FINDINGS: Results confirm the think manager, think male hypothesis for black and white men but not for black and white women. Black and white men are less likely to attribute successful managerial characteristics to women. The hypothesis is more robust among black men than among white men. For black women, the resemblance between the characteristics of women in general and successful managers is significantly higher than the resemblance of men in general and successful managers. This represents only the second study globally to report a reversal of the usual pattern. White women perceived men and women to equally possess the requisite management characteristics.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Intersectionality is capable of revealing the ways in which race and gender simultaneously influence perceptions of managerial characteristics.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: The paper provides a race and gender intersectional analysis that compares the perceptions of the think manager – think male hypothesis in contrast to the dominant gender only
analysis that may mask important differences in the stereotyping of managerial characteristics. It is also the first study of its kind in South Africa.