Perceived Centrality in Social Networks Increases Women’s Expectations of Confronting Sexism

Rattan, A and Brands, R (2020) Perceived Centrality in Social Networks Increases Women’s Expectations of Confronting Sexism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 46 (12). pp. 1682-1701. ISSN 0146-1672 OPEN ACCESS


This paper integrates the study of intergroup relations and social network cognition, predicting that women who occupy central (vs. peripheral) advice network positions are more likely to confront a coworker’s gender-biased comment.

Study 1 offers correlational evidence of the predicted link between perceived advice network centrality and confronting among employed women, uniquely in advice (but not communication) networks. Study 2 replicates and investigates two possible mechanisms–perceptions of the situation as public and perceived risk of confronting.

Study 3 rules out order effects and tests an additional mechanism (expectations of the network members). Study 4 is an experiment that shows people expect central (vs. peripheral) women to confront more, even when she is lower (vs. equal) power.

Study 5 replicates the core hypothesis in retrospective accounts of women’s responses to real workplace gender bias. Study 6 compares multiple potential mechanisms to provide greater insight into why centrality reliably predicts confrontation.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2020 SAGE. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. Re-use of this article is restricted under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence to non-commercial and no derivative uses.

Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 11:14
Date of first compliant deposit: 07 Feb 2020
Subjects: Women
Social roles
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 01:24

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