טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentArielle Sullum
SubjectGender and Issue-Selling of Creative Ideas for
New Products
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Erez Miriam
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Issue-selling is the process by which individuals persuade others of the importance of an idea or concept. Closely linked with issue-selling literature, negotiation literature typically focuses on the contextual factors that facilitate issue-selling success; for example, previous research indicates that women are more confident and have less fear of backlash in negotiation situations in which they represent another person than in scenarios in which they represent themselves.  Backlash refers to social or economic sanctions against an individual for acting in a non-gender congruent manner.  I extended this literature by investigating how team-representation impacts females’ and males’ fear of backlash and confidence levels in issue-selling, as well as how they are ultimately perceived.  I measured sex as participants’ identification as male or female; I did not measure gender identification, which represents people’s social- role experience.

Study 1 examined individuals' fear of backlash and confidence levels, in a simulation in which they either represented their own idea (self-representation-role), their team"s idea (team- representation-role), or their colleague"s idea (other-representation-role) to management. Participants were 158 undergraduate engineering students (51 % female, Mean age = 25).  The results indicated an interaction effect of sex by representation-role, such that women reported a greater fear of backlash and less confidence in the team and other-representation-roles than in the self-representation-role; no such effect was found among men.  In order to explain these results I drew on gender and leadership literature.  Namely, the role of “leader” is non-gender congruent for women; hence they may have feared backlash as a result of their gender-incongruent role.

Study 2 examined to what extent the interaction effect found in Study 1 reflects how managers actually perceive female and male issue-sellers. Study 2 examined to what extent the issue-seller’s sex and representation-role (self-representation-role vs. team-representation-role) influenced the manager’s perception of them.  The participants consisted of 152 (49% female, Mean age = 25) undergraduate engineering students. The results indicated that women had received more backlash than men in both representation-roles, which contrasted with the first study in which women anticipated receiving more backlash in the team-representation-role than in the self-representation-role. Moreover, women were perceived as more confident in the self-representation-role than in the team-representation-role, which corroborates women’s reporting of higher confidence levels in the self-representation-role than in the team-representation-role in Study 1.  The results are explained in light of gender and leadership literature.