Associate Professor of Decision Sciences
Self-confidence Appearance; Gender; Job Performance; Prosocial Orientation; Organizational Influence; Corporate Governance; Women on Boards;
Appearing self-confident is instrumental for progressing at work. However, little is known about what makes individuals appear self-confident at work.The authors draw on attribution and social perceptions literatures to theorize about both antecedents and consequences of appearing self-confident for men and women in male-dominated professions. They suggest that performance is one determinant of whether individuals are seen as confident at work, and that this effect is moderated by gender.The authors further propose that self-confidence appearance increases the extent to which individuals exert influence in their organizations. However, for women, appearing self-confident is not enough to gain influence. In contrast to men, women in addition are “required” to be prosocially oriented. Multisource, time-lag data from a technology company showed that performance had a positive effect on self-confidence appearance for both men and women.However, the effect of self-confidence appearance on organizational influence was moderated by gender and prosocial orientation, as predicted. Through self-confidence appearance, job performance directly enabled men to exert influence in their organization. In contrast, high performing women gained influence only when their self-confidence appearance was coupled with prosocial orientation.These results have practical implications for gender equality and leadership. They suggest that HR and senior management should play a key role in building more diversity-friendly organizations. In particular, ensuring that the same job requirements – explicit and implicit – are applied to both female and male employees is crucial for fair individual outcomes in organizations Their results show that through self-confidence appearance, job performance directly enables men to exert influence in their organizations.In contrast, high performing women gain influence only when self-confidence appearance is coupled with prosocial orientation. The authors discuss the implications of our results for gender equality, leadership, and social perceptions.