Global Journal of Human Resource Management (GJHRM)

EA Journals

Gender Bias at Workplace: A Study of the Unspoken Bias Towards Female Leaders Competencies in A Male Dominated Work Environment


The aim of the study was to explore the existence of stereotypical gender bias in relation to gender preference and the perceived leadership behaviors and competencies that female leaders would need in order to be successful in a male dominated industry using the oil and gas industry as a case study. To achieve this objective, a research questions was asked, “Does a negative perception of female leaders’ competences and stereo typical bias still persist in the male dominated environment like the oil and gas industry”.To appropriately answer this question and meet the objectives of the study, a quantitative positivism research design was adopted as the methodology. Survey questionnaire with 88 scaled questions and 1 open-ended questions was used as data collection method. 134 respondents comprising of 54 females and 80 males participated in the study. The data was analyzed using the IBM SPSS software. The role congruity theory of prejudice towards female leaders, the ‘Think manager – Think Male’ notion, the double bind concept and the competency framework were used as a theoretical concept to drive the study.Key findings from the study includes the role of factors like organizational, culture, and gender bias as an unspoken barrier for female leaders to succeed in the oil and gas industry. Other findings include a unified bias in which both male and female favorably rated a female leader they have worked with satisfactorily; the female leaders in the oil and gas industry are not disliked for being professional or assertive rather they earn the same respect as with the males from their subordinates. Evidence suggests that the leadership styles that was found to be mostly associated with female leaders in the oil and gas industry is the participative and relation-oriented style of leadership and this in human resources management is the recommended best practice and more effective approach.

Keywords: Female Leaders, Gender-Bias, Leadership, role congruity, stereotypical bias, unspoken bias

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