McNair Scholars Research Journal


Women are key contributors to an organizational environment, though the stereotypic perceptions about powerful women are common and often negative. Factors such as wage gap differentials between men and women imply that women are not of the same value to an organization’s success as men. Many empirical studies have examined perceptions about women in positions such as managers, CEOs, supervisors or directors. These studies have not, however, focused on how early life environments, and variables related to an individual’s upbringing, might influence the self-perceptions of these women and the roles they play in the workplace. The purpose of this research is to identify 1) perceptions about women in today’s workplace; 2) how individuals’ early life experiences correlate with their later perceptions about women in the workplace, and 3) how early life influences affect women as organizational leaders in groups and dyads. As such, it is hypothesized that this correlational study will discover that early life conditions, such as the quality of education, household income, and demographic data from both male and female genders will influence common attitudes about women in the workplace. The present research also aims to help employees become more aware of company perceptions and to improve gender communication in the workplace. Examining the workplace perceptions of men and women formed by early life influences, and specifically, researching how women work as leaders in an organizational setting can provide information that will be useful in corporate environments. Significant early life predictors can also be used as data for families and schools raising young women to become leaders in the corporate world.