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Do Male Bosses Underestimate their Female Subordinates' Skills? A Comparison of Employees' and Line Managers' Perceptions of Job Skills

Author

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  • Francis Green

    ()

  • Donna James

Abstract

Employees and their line managers may have different perceptions of the skills used in jobs. We carried out a survey aimed at explaining such differences, in respect of verbal, physical, problem-solving and planning skills, the qualifications required to get the job, and indicators of the autonomy involved in the job. First, for most of our skills indices, there is a reasonably good match between the perceptions of the line manager and those of the employee. But in the case of the contested skills associated with autonomy there is little agreement. Second, for most skills, there is a small 'perceptions bias', in the sense that employees rate the skills needed for the job at a slightly higher level, on average, than their line managers. Third, the gender relation of the employee and line manager plays a significant role in determining the skills bias. Consistent with the hypothesis that skills are socially constructed, when the boss is male and the worker female there is a tendency for the boss to underestimate and/or the worker to over-estimate their skill level, by comparison with other gender combinations.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis Green & Donna James, 2001. "Do Male Bosses Underestimate their Female Subordinates' Skills? A Comparison of Employees' and Line Managers' Perceptions of Job Skills," Studies in Economics 0107, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0107
    as

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    File URL: ftp://ftp.ukc.ac.uk/pub/ejr/RePEc/ukc/ukcedp/0107.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Francis Green, 1998. "The Value of Skills," Studies in Economics 9819, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. Francis Green & Alan Felstead & Duncan Gallie, 2003. "Computers and the changing skill-intensity of jobs," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(14), pages 1561-1576.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nickell, Stephen & Redding, Stephen J. & Swaffield, Joanna K, 2001. "Educational Attainment, Labour Market Institutions and the Structure of Production," CEPR Discussion Papers 3068, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    skills; qualifications; workplace autonomy; gender relations;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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