Gender, status and the use of power strategies



The present study examined the effects of gender and status on the use of power strategies. The experiment consisted of a computer-based problem-solving task performed in pairs, where participants interacted with simulated long-distance partners. Participants were 36 female and 38 male undergraduate students, who were assigned to be influencing agents and were required to convince their partners to accept their help in the problem-solving process. Status was manipulated by the extent to which partners were dependent upon the participants' resources. Partners were either same sex or other sex. Results indicated an interactive effect of agent gender by status. Men used more frequently ‘masculine’-typed and less frequently ‘feminine’-typed strategies than did women in low status positions, whereas in high status positions no significant gender differences in power strategy choices were found. These findings suggest that gender differences and similarities vary according to social contexts. Implications of the findings for both theory and practice are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.