Gender, race, expectancy, and interpersonal behavior



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Texas Tech University


This study was designed to examine whether the expectancies of a group member would affect his interpersonal perceptions and subsequent behaviors during a set of discussions within a managerial decision making context. A review of the literature had indicated that a person's gender and race serve as cues for social categorization and that judgments about a person's behavior will be made in conjunction with a set of expectancies which are based on the person's group membership. Of particular relevance to this study was the type of social categorization process which leads to the structuring of one's world into two distinct groups: "us" (ingroup) and "them" (outgroup),

Subjects in this study were Anglo m.ale undergraduates enrolled in an introductory management class at Texas Tech University. They participated in a three-member group discussion session in which the group leader was either a member of the ingroup (Anglo male) or of the outgroup (a Mexican American male or female or an Anglo female). Subjects rated the group leader on a number of rating scales. During the discussions, observers categorized the subjects and the leader's behaviors.

A principal components analysis (PCA) revealed two factors on an impression formation questionnaire. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) using these two factors revealed that male leaders were rated more highly on the "Virility" factor than female leaders while Anglo leaders were rated more positively on the "Evaluation" factor than were Mexican American leaders. A MANOVA using the factors revealed by a PCA on a second set of ratings showed that Mexican American leaders were rated more extremely than Anglo leaders on a "Charisma" factor as had been predicted. When gender was denoted as the ingroup, this prediction was not substantiated on this factor. There were no differences due to the experimental manipulations in either the positive or negative socio-emotional behaviors exhibited by subjects and group leaders. This result is contrary to what had been predicted. The performance of group leaders was attributed to skill more than to luck, a result opposite to what had been hypothesized.