Penalties for Unexpected Behavior: Double Standards for Women in Finance

43 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2019 Last revised: 30 Aug 2019

See all articles by Robert J. Bloomfield

Robert J. Bloomfield

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Kristina M. Rennekamp

SC Johnson Graduate School of Business; Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Blake A. Steenhoven

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Scott Stewart

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

Date Written: August 12, 2019

Abstract

We present 179 investment professionals with a scenario that manipulates whether a male or female analyst persists in pitching a stock pick after it has been voted down. Respondents evaluate analysts as less promotable when they do not persist, but only if the analyst is female. Results are consistent with categorization theory, which suggests evaluators rely on stereotypes to interpret unexpected behaviors. In male-dominated settings, the same unexpected behavior may be perceived as evidence of a “lack of fit” in evaluations of women, but nondiagnostic in evaluations of men. Analysis of free-response questions confirm that the unexpected behavior was a predominant focus in performance evaluations of women, but not for men. Semi-structured interviews with 13 senior investment professionals provide additional support for the role of expectations and categorization heuristics on promotion decisions. Our findings shed light on factors that may contribute to the investment industry’s “leaky pipeline” for women.

Keywords: performance evaluation, subjective performance measures, gender bias, analyst characteristics

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M49, M51

Suggested Citation

Bloomfield, Robert J. and Rennekamp, Kristina M. and Steenhoven, Blake and Stewart, Scott, Penalties for Unexpected Behavior: Double Standards for Women in Finance (August 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3295963 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3295963

Robert J. Bloomfield

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

450 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-9407 (Phone)
607-254-4590 (Fax)

Kristina M. Rennekamp (Contact Author)

SC Johnson Graduate School of Business ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-0500 (Phone)

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14850
United States

Blake Steenhoven

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14850
United States

Scott Stewart

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14850
United States

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