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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews current research on gender and social influence. Overall, men exert greater influence than women do. Women’s disadvantage derives from gender stereotypes that characterize men as more competent and agentic than women and that require women to be more selfless and communal than men. Both agentic and communal behaviors predict influence. As a result, women are subjected to a double bind. They may lack influence because of doubt about their competence, or they may lack influence because their competent behavior elicits concern that they are insufficiently communal. In contrast, men have greater behavioral flexibility than women do as influence agents. Men tend to be more resistant to women’s influence than women are, particularly when female influence agents behave in a highly competent manner. Resistance to female influence can be reduced in contexts that are stereotypically feminine and when women display a blend of agentic and communal qualities.

Keywords: agency, communion, double bind, expectation states theory, gender differences, influenceability, stereotypes, social role theory

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