Double Standards Do Exist According to New Study Co-Authored by Business Professor

BOCA RATON, Fla. --- Female faculty members hoping to advance to the highest ranks of academia face significant barriers due to male-dominated environments at colleges and universities, according to a new study co-authored by Frank Mixon, professor of economics in Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business.

“One of the striking findings is that female management professors exhibit, on average, the same degree of job mobility -- captured by the number of prior academic appointments held -- as their male counterparts, yet face a lower probability of holding a named (endowed) professorship,” said Mixon.

The study, published in the Journal of Management, suggests that a masculine-gendered environment dominates colleges of business, leading to shifting standards when it comes to the highest senior appointments in academe. While the data was collected in business schools throughout the United States, the researchers believe their results would be replicable in other academic settings and in other masculine-gendered environments, said Len Treviño, professor of management in FAU’s College of Business, who led the research team.

“We looked at lifetime productivity and found irrefutable evidence that, in line with double-standards theory, women have to do a lot more work than men to get similar rewards,” Treviño said. “It’s true there’s a double standard. We tested it.”

Mixon, Treviño and their fellow researchers Luis R. Gomez-Mejia at Arizona State University and David B. Balkin at the University of Colorado analyzed appointments to the rank of named professorship by gender via a sample of 511 management faculty at top American research universities with 10 or more years of experience since receiving their Ph.D. They found that women are less likely to be awarded named professorships and that they derive lower returns from their scholarly achievements when it comes to appointments to endowed chairs.

The research seems to show it’s not a conscious decision to make things tougher for female faculty, but women do face biases that are so deeply embedded in the processes followed by leading academic institutions that they may not even be noticed until they are eradicated. Treviño hopes that this study will help increase awareness of the problem.

“There has to be a conscious decision that this is not right and we have to change it,” Treviño said. “And you have to keep at it because people forget.”