South-Western - Management  
Study Says Flirtatious Women Get Fewer Raises, Promotions
Topic Internal Environment and Culture
Key Words flirtation, promotions, benevolent sexism
News Story

A study conducted at Tulane University found that women who exhibit sexual behaviors at work are less likely to receive raises and promotions than women who never exhibit flirtatious behavior. In the study, sexual behaviors were defined as everything from massaging a man's shoulders to sending risqué emails.

The women in the study ranged in age from mid-20's to 60, and the average had earned an MBA. Those who said they never used sexuality in the workplace earned approximately $75,000 to $100,000, while those who used a flirtatious approach earned $50,000 to $75,0000.

The findings addressed other areas of workplace behavior, and suggested that chivalry is a form of "benevolent sexism," which women should avoid since it may reinforce stereotypes. However, other researchers believe there is a place for appropriate courteous behavior, such as men opening doors, or hugs between longtime business friends. Whether male or female, the main conclusion of the study is that any unprofessional behavior is detrimental to a career.


Research the concept of benevolent sexism. How would you set boundaries for your employees without implying an accusatory tone?


As a manager, how would you distinguish the line between friendly behavior and inappropriate flirtation in the workplace?

Source "Study Says Flirtatious Women Get Fewer Raises, Promotions," USA Today, August 6, 2005.
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