'Queen bee’ behavior? Blame sexist workplace, study says
Sunday, July 17, 2011
that want to cultivate more women leaders, but do nothing to cultivate a
sexism-free environment are bound to fail, according to new research.
bee” behavior by female bosses who distance themselves from other women and
refuse to help others rise through the ranks is caused by a sexist workplace
environment, according to the study by Belle Derks of Leiden University in the
Netherlands. The study, co-written by Colette van Laar, Naomi Ellemers and Kim
De Groot, will be published soon in the Psychological Science magazine.
and her colleagues explored whether queen bee behavior -- for example, denying
that gender discrimination is a problem -- might be a response to a difficult, male-dominated
environment, according to a report by the National Science Foundation published
in U.S. World and News Report. Derks’ study was based on responses to a survey of
63 senior women in police departments in three Dutch cities.
certain women were found to engage in queen bee behavior, and only after
they’ve been primed to think about gender bias.
you simply put women at higher positions without doing anything about gender
bias in the organization, these women will be forced to distance themselves
from the group,” Derks said. "They may deny that gender bias exists or avoid
helping women below them. If you set women up this way, so they have to choose
between their opportunities and the opportunities of the group, some women will
choose themselves. Why should you choose your group? Men don’t have to.”