In applications, interviews, performance reviews, and many other environments, individuals are explicitly asked or implicitly invited to assess their own performance. In myriad other contexts, individuals face implicit invitations or opportunities to talk about their ability and performance. In response to these explicit and implicit opportunities, individuals may subjectively convey their ability and performance, which we call their level of “self-promotion” (Abraham & Stein, 2019).
Relative to men, women are less willing to negotiate (Small et al., 2007), to enter a competition (Niederle and Vesterlund, 2007; Croson and Gneezy, 2009; Niederle and Vesterlund, 2011; Niederle, 2016), to contribute their ideas or assume a “leadership” position in a group (Coffman, 2014; Born, Ranehill and Sandberg, 2018; Coffman,Flikkema and Shurchkov, 2019), to claim credit for their contributions (Isaksson, 2018), and to apply for a job or for a promotion (Bosquet, Combes and García-Peñalosa, 2019; Coffman, Collis and Kulkarni, 2019).
Recent studies have added self-promotion to the list of behaviours with gender gaps that might contribute to disparities in labour market outcomes. In a series of experiments, Abraham and Stein (2019) found that women rate their performance less favourably than equally performing men. This gender gap in self-promotion is notably persistent and because of the prevalence of self-promotion opportunities, this self-promotion gap may contribute to persistent gender gaps in education and labour market outcomes.
As a human resource practitioner, you are particularly interested in self-promotion because you view it as an understudied behaviour that could have important implications for labour market outcomes. From the review of the extant literature, you have noticed that clarifying the norms of the decision environment can mitigate gender gaps. For instance, He, Kang and Lacetera (2019) reported that the gender gap in willingness to enter competition is eliminated when individuals must “opt-out” of a competition rather than “opt-in” to a competition; Coffman, Collis and Kulkarni (2019a) showed that the gender gap in willingness to apply to an advanced job is eliminated when individuals are provided with clear guidance as to the conditions under which they should apply; and a reduction in ambiguity has mitigated gender gaps in the negotiations literature (Bowles and McGinn, 2008; Mazei et al., 2015; Leibbrandt and List, 2015).
Thus, you are embarking on a study with the aim of examining whether a behavioural educational intervention (i.e., a specialised training) for women on the “appropriate” level of self-promotion in a given environment might prove effective at reducing gender gaps in self-promotion and their associated impact on performance reviews.
For your experimental study, you recruited 3 senior executives one of whom is an HR manager, 30 middle-level female managers and 30 middle-level male managers working at a large bank in Cape Town, South Africa.
At the beginning of the experiment, each of the 30 male-managers and 30 female-managers was randomly assigned a participant ID number and then individually invited for a performance review during which each participant was requested to describe his/her own performance and ability in strategic settings to a panel made up of the 3 senior executives. Each of the 3 senior managers gave each participant a score ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (high) and the average score of each participant was calculated (Pre_training_score).
A week after the initial performance review, the 30 middle-level female managers began a weekly hour-long specialised training tailored to inculcate a sense of the “appropriate” level of self-promotion in the banking sector for a period of six months. The male managers were informed that their training will take place in the next financial year. All the 60 participants were again invited for a performance review at the end of the current training (6 months after commencement of the training). A final, post-training follow-up performance review was undertaken sixth months after the current training. During each of the performance reviews, each of the 3 senior managers again scored each participant ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (high) and the average for each participant was calculated.
Table 3: Excerpt of the average scores of the 60 manager-participants
Participant 1D Gender Pre_training_ score Post_training_score Follow_up_score
1001 Male 4.1 4.2 4.2
1002 Male 3.6 3.6 3.9
1003 Female 3.2 3.8 4.0
1004 Male 3.9 3.8 3.8
1005 Female 3.4 3.9 4.0
1006 Female 3.1 3.7 4.1
1007 Female 3.2 3.9 3.9
1008 Male 3.9 4.0 4.0
1009 Male 4.3 4.2 4.2
10010 Female 3.4 4.1 4.2
. . . . .
. . . . .
10060 Female 3.8 4.2 4.3
3.1 Elaborate on the research philosophy underpinning your study. (3)
3.2 On the basis of the information provided in the question, identify and meaningfully elaborate on the statistical design used in the factorial experiment. (5)
3.3 State TWO (2) assumptions underlying the main inferential test run in the study. (2)
3.4 Identify the experimental (treatment) group and the control group in this study. (2)
3.5 Identify and describe the independent variables (IVs) and the dependent variable (DV) in this study. (3)
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