Sex differences in dealing with bureaucracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study set out to test the popular stereotype of male communicative dominance in the context of dealing with bureaucracy. The study examined the responses of male and female officials of various bureaucratic organizations to different persuasive appeals activated by male and female clients. Log-linear analysis was used to reveal the relationships between sex composition of client-official dyads and outcome across types of organizations and types of persuasive appeal. Findings indicate that the sex of the client and the official significantly affected the outcome only when the type of appeal was taken into account. Although male and female clients did not differ in rates of successful outcome, males were more persuasive when using "stronger" (i.e., normative) appeals, and females were more effective when applying "weaker" (i.e., altruistic) appeals. The results demonstrate that no simple answer can be found to the old issue of sex-bound persuasiveness. The answer is highly dependent on a combination of contextual aspects, communicative tactics, and measures of response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-790
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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